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Full text of "The First National Bank of Chicago, charter number eight: a brief history of its progress from the day on which it opened for business, July 1, 1863, to the same date half a century later, with which is incorporated a sketch of the First Trust and Savings Bank"

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James B. Forgan 


Howard H. Hitchcock Frank O. Wetmore Emile K. Boisot 

August Blum Charles N. Gillett Charles H. Newhall 

M. D. Witkowsky Arthur W. Newton 

Henry A. Howland 

Assistant Cashiers 

William H. Monroe Edward S. Thomas John P. Oleson H. H. Heins 

A. C. C. Timm William J. Lawlor John F. Hagey 

R. F. Newhall George H. Dunscomb 

Auditing Department 
H. L. Droegemueller, Auditor 

Clerical and Bookkeeping Departments 
William H. Monroe, Ass't Cashier 

Credit and Statistical Department 
J. W. Lynch, Manager 

Discount and Collateral Department 
Charles M. Walworth, Manager 

Foreign Exchange Department 
John J. Arnold Charles P. Clifford 

Manager Assistant Manager 

Law Department 
Edward E. Brown John Nash Ott 

Attorney Assistant Attorney 

Transit and General Books Department 
Charles R. McKay, Manager 



Benjamin Allen 
Samuel W. Allerton 
A. C. Bartlett 
E. K. Boisot 
William L. Brown 
Augustus A. Carpenter 

D. Mark Cummings 
James B. Forgan 
James J. Hill 

H. H. Hitchcock 
Marvin Hughitt 

E. T. Jeffery 
William J. Louderback 
Harold F. McCormick 
Edward Morris 
Charles H. Morse 
Eugene S. Pike 
Henry H. Porter, Jr. 
Norman B. Ream 
John A. Spoor 
Bernard E. Sunny 
Wm. J. Watson 
Frank O. Wetmore 
Clarence M. Woolley 

Also Directors and Members of the Advisory 
Committee of the 



James B. F organ, President 
Emile K. Boisot, Vice-President 

Lotas Boisot, Trust Officer 

Burt C. Hardenbrook, Cashier 

Robert D. Forgan, Treasurer 

David V. Webster, Secretary 

Frank M. Gordon, Manager Bond Department 

Roy C. Osgood, Assistant Trust Officer 

C. G. Fleager, Assistant Treasurer 

A. W. Converse, Assistant Secretary 

Robert L. Davis, Manager Real Estate Department 

Edward E. Brown, Attorney 

John Nash Ott. Assistant Attorney 


THE First National Bank of Chicago opened 
its doors for business on the first day of 
July, 1863; its character has never changed. 
Upon the completion of a half -century's serv- 
ice — successful to itself and of value to the 
community — marked by growth coincident with 
that of Chicago, this history is presented. It is 
essentially a record of the past and but suggests 
the facilities and organization which has been 
built up year by year, until in equipment, in 
personnel of management, in the high standards 
which mark its daily routine, the bank stands as 
a model product of the National Bank Act. Not 
only is it a monument to those who laid the 
foundations and whose wisdom and prudence have 
made the name a synonym for strength and 
safety, but to those also who day by day maintain 
its reputation and its traditions, striving that the 
honored name may be handed down without 
stain to their successors. 

Under the authority of the board of directors 
a history of the institution, prepared by Henry 
C. Morris, was published in 1902, from which, 
with but little alterations, has been taken the 
record up to the renewal of the bank's second 
charter. The present reviewer acknowledges the 
obligation to Mr. Morris, and to the officers of 
the bank, who by criticism and advice have aided 
in the preparation of the volume. 

Guy Wickes Cooke. 
Chicago, 1913. 




I. The First National Bank Building - Frontispiece 

II. Edmund Aiken ----------- 10 

The First President 

III. The Bank's First Building --------18 

Southwest Corner Clark and Lake Streets 

TV. Samuel M. Nickerson -26 

The Second President 

V. The Bank's Second Building - - - - - ... 34 

Southwest Corner State and Washington Streets 

VI. Ruins of the Second Building - - 42 

After the Fire of 1871 

VII. The Bank's Third Building --------50 

Northwest Corner Dearborn and Monroe Streets 

VIII. Lyman J. Gage 58 

The Third President 

IX. James B. Forgan -----66 

The President 

X. Official Staff of 1910 --- 74 

' ' ' '..••■*>'■. 

The First National Bank 
of Chicago 

FINANCIAL conditions existing in Chicago at the out- 
break of the Civil War were not in the least flattering. 
Although in November, i860, the situation had been 
most auspicious, yet within two months after that 
date, by reason of the decline in southern securities, the notes 
of Illinois banking corporations were at a serious discount, and 
local banks unanimously refused to accept those which were 
considered the most doubtful in value. 

The total volume of the notes of all the banks having 
offices in Chicago at the close of 1861 was slightly less than 
$150,000, a sum utterly insufficient to satisfy the demands of 
the community; hence bills issued outside of the state, and 
not redeemable within its boundaries, were necessarily put in 
circulation. Indeed, the city was soon notorious as the center 
from which great quantities of this paper were scattered broad- 
cast. Thus the people suffered, trade was uncertain, and 
business was prosecuted for the next eighteen months under 

Meanwhile the discussion of the proposed National Currency 
Act was progressing at Washington, and the divergence of 
opinion, aroused throughout the country by its consideration, 


was showing that many well-informed financiers were looking 
forward to an improvement in monetary affairs, should such a 
measure ever become law. Some of these men resided in 
Chicago, and during the winter of 1862-63 they frequently met 
and talked over the prospects of the projected legislation. 
Prominent among them were Edmund Aiken, then about fifty 
years of age, and sole member of the private banking firm of 
Aiken & Norton; Samuel M. Nickerson, a young man of 
thirty-two, who had only recently arrived here, and was 
temporarily engaged in the distilling business; Byron Rice, a 
capitalist; Samuel W.AUerton, a packer; Benjamin P. Hutch- 
inson, a member of the Board of Trade, and several others. 
The place of these informal gatherings was usually at the office 
of Aiken & Norton, in Room I of the old Board of Trade 
Building, on the northeast corner of La Salle and Water streets. 
Chicago had at this time a population approximating 150,000 
and it was evident to those endowed with reasonable foresight 
that this city was destined, as the years advanced, to attain a 
higher and higher degree of prosperity. It was likewise ap- 
parent that the banking facilities then existing, even in those 
days of civil strife, were inadequate ; moreover, the institution 
which should first prove itself worthy of public confidence 
would, when the war closed, have an enormous advantage over 
all competitors. The community had outgrown its infancy; 
conditions had been modified ; there was not merely room for, 
but an urgent need of, a well-organized bank, with ample 
capital and under a management both honest and skilled in the 
theory and practice of banking. 

The movement was opportune, and these men were thor- 
oughly fitted to grasp its possibilities. With the passage of 



the National Currency Act, and its approval by the President, 
the little group of Chicagoans felt that the hour for action had 
come. Not a single day was needlessly lost in perfecting their 

The first step of which official record exists is the meeting 
of the interested parties, presumably in the office of Aiken & 
Norton, on May I, 1863. Upon that occasion formal articles 
of association, as prescribed by law, were adopted. The chief 
provisions were: that the name of the corporation should be 
" The First National Bank of Chicago ;" that the capital should 
be $100,000, and might be augmented to a sum not in excess of 
$1,000,000; a two-thirds vote of the board of directors being 
always requisite for such a purpose; the additional stock to be 
distributed pro rata among such of the stockholders as might 
wish to take their respective shares. Thirty per cent of the 
original subscriptions was to be taken and paid for at once, 
and the remainder at such times as should thereafter be de- 
termined. The directors were fixed at nine, their qualifications 
to be the ownership of stock equivalent in value to five per 
cent on the first $100,000, and one per cent upon any increase 
of capital over such amount. The term for which the associa- 
tion was formed was limited to expire on April 30, 1882, 
being nineteen years from the date of this instrument. The 
signers and the number of shares held by each of them were, 



Shares Shares 

Edmund Aiken 175 Samuel M. Nickerson 100 

Byron Rice 50 Samuel W. Allerton .... 100 

Benjamin P. Hutchinson. . 175 John B. Sherman 100 

Tracy J. Bronson 100 James C. Fargo 50 

George N. Kennedy 50 Samuel G. D. Howard .... 100 

All, with one exception, were residents of Chicago ; George 
N. Kennedy lived at Syracuse, New York. 

Pursuant to the articles of association, the stockholders 
assembled on May 7, 1863, at the office of Aiken & Norton, 
and thereupon elected as directors, to serve until the second 
Tuesday in January, 1864, the following named gentlemen: 
Samuel W. Allerton, Tracy J. Bronson, Samuel M. Nickerson, 
Byron Rice, Benjamin P. Hutchinson, Edmund Aiken, Samuel 
G. D. Howard, James C. Fargo, and John B. Sherman. The 
board thus constituted, having at once met, chose Edmund 
Aiken president, and James C. Fargo vice-president. Sub- 
sequently, on May 22d, Messrs. Hutchinson, Howard, and 
Nickerson were appointed a committee to assist the president 
in completing the organization and making other preliminary 
arrangements. On May 27th, $30,000 of the capital having 
been paid in, that fact was communicated to Hon. Hugh 
McCulloch, Comptroller of the Currency. The original in- 
tention had been to open the doors of the establishment on 
June 1st, but some unexpected delays occurred. The Comp- 
troller likewise did not finally act upon any of the applications 
before him until June 22d. On that date he empowered 
several banks to begin business, signing almost simultaneously 
the necessary authority. The First National Bank of Chicago 
was the eighth institution to receive his approval. On June 
26th the board of directors voted that the activities of the 


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bank be inaugurated on July I, 1863, in the rooms formerly 
occupied by Aiken & Norton, which had been secured for this 
purpose. At the same time a resolution to increase the capital 
to $250,000 was passed. Prior to this date, James C. Fargo 
had sold his stock, and was thus disqualified from holding 
office. To succeed him as vice-president, Samuel M. Nicker- 
son was, upon motion of B. P. Hutchinson, chosen on June 29, 
1863; then entering upon that period of indefatigable service 
in behalf of the bank which was to extend over more than a 
third of a century. At the same meeting Edward E. Braisted 
was appointed cashier. 

The Chicago Daily Tribune of June 30, 1863, conta*ined the 
following announcement: 

"The First National Bank of Chicago goes into operation 
tomorrow, July 1st, E. Aiken, Esq., President, and E. E. 
Braisted, late of the Loan & Trust Co., Cashier. The stock- 
holders are among the most active and substantial business 
men, representing our merchants, lumber, produce, and stock 
dealers, with a number of our leading capitalists. The bank 
opens with a cash capital of a quarter million of dollars, and a 
further increase will be added as the wants of the business 
public shall require. The president has long been known to 
the business community as one of our most active and prudent 
bankers, and the stockholders and the public are fortunate in 
the selection of a gentleman for so important a position, who 
so thoroughly understands the business of the city. The bank 
will open at the former office of the president, No. 22 La Salle 
street, immediately north of Coolbaugh & Co.'s Bank, north- 
west corner of Lake." 



From the day of its inauguration the institution was ac- 
corded a favorable reception by the people, and during the 
first three months of its existence, gradually gained strength. 
The earliest published statement of its condition appeared 
on October i, 1863, as of the close of business September 30th, 
and showed as follows: 


Loans and discounts $149,650.00 

United States bonds (par value) 91,000.00 

Cash Resources: 

Due from banks (Eastern exchange) $109,773.73 

Checks for clearing house 68,597.12 

Cash on hand 60,828.13 



Capital stock $205,000.00 

Undivided profits 1,759.49 

Deposits 273,089.49 


From this modest beginning one of the largest financial 
institutions on the western hemisphere has developed. 

The next incident of importance was the election of E. G. 
Hall, on November II, 1863, as a director to succeed James C. 
Fargo, who had resigned. Already the rooms occupied by the 
bank were becoming too small, and unfitted for its growing 
business; the officers were looking for new quarters. At the 
meeting of the board, December 8th, the action of the presi- 
dent in leasing a portion of the main floor in the Exchange 
Block, at the southwest corner of Clark and Lake streets, for 
five years, at an annual rental of $4,000, was approved. This 



address remained unchanged until the end of 1867. On the 
same day the directors also passed a resolution ordering from 
the Comptroller of the Currency the sum of $200,000 in cir- 
culating notes. 

The first regular annual election of directors was held on 
January 12, 1864. It may not be without interest to mention 
the names of the stockholders and the number of shares re- 
spectively held by them at that time. The secretary of the 
meeting reported the vote cast by those present or represented 
by proxy as follows: 

Shares Shares 

E.Aiken 212 M. Talcott 100 

Byron Rice 70 Samuel D. G. Howard .... 70 

Henry M. Wilmarth 30 W. N. Brainard 50 

Benjamin P. Hutchinson. . 300 George C. Walker 50 

E. G. Hall 70 Tracy J. Bronson 150 

T. H. Seymour 50 Samuel W. AUerton 150 

S. B. Roath 30 Henry M. Shepard 50 

John M. Williams 50 Samuel M. Nickerson 100 

A. Hurd 50 Horace M. Singer 100 

Whereupon it was announced that Messrs. Edmund Aiken, 
Benjamin P. Hutchinson, Samuel W. AUerton, Samuel M. 
Nickerson, Byron Rice, Samuel G. D. Howard, Tracy J. Bron- 
son, John B. Sherman, and E. G. Hall had been duly elected 
for the ensuing year. The board immediately met and chose 
the former officers to succeed themselves. 

As suggestive of the conservative views which then pre- 
vailed among the managers, the resolution of the directors of 
January 23, 1864, reciting that "no loan shall be made with or 
without collateral to any individual or firm to exceed $50,000 



without the approval of the board," should be noted. During 
the spring of the same year the stock was gradually augmented 
to $600,000. The bank was now on a healthy, sound, and pros- 
perous basis. The men who had brought it into existence were 
naturally desirous of realizing some direct return. On May 2, 
1864, the first dividend was declared. The net earnings for 
the period prior to the preceding day, free of tax, were found 
to be equal to sixteen per cent of the capital, while the holders 
of the first three thousand shares issued also received pro rata 
the five per cent premium which had accrued on the United 
States bonds. Such a result of one year's work may well be 
envied by financiers of the present generation. Soon after- 
ward it was determined to increase the volume of the circulat- 
ing notes, as soon as practicable, to $400,000. 

On October I, 1864, the principal items included in the 
official statement were: Loans and discounts, $809,730.94; 
United States bonds, $441,500; cash resources, $681,819.65; 
capital stock paid in, $600,000; undivided profits, $66,752.88; 
circulating notes, $320,000; deposits, $946,579.95. On No- 
vember 15, 1864, a dividend of ten per cent was distributed. 
During this autumn the capital was fixed at $750,000 and the 
circulating notes at $600,000 in value. Augustus W. Wheeler 
was appointed assistant cashier on November 7th. 

The next year opened with memorable action by the board 
of directors, when, on January 2, 1865, it voted to increase 
the capital stock to $1,000,000, the highest limit provided by 
the articles of association. Under date of March 9th the 
cashier certified to the Comptroller of the Currency that the 
full amount had been paid ; $100,000 of this additional sum was 
relinquished for allotment to new stockholders. 



On February 10, 1865, A. W. Wheeler severed his connection 
with the management, having previously resigned as assistant 
cashier. The United States Treasurer certified, February 24, 
1865, that the bank had on deposit bonds to the total of $632,- 
000, of which $572,000 were as security for circulation, and 
$60,000 to cover public moneys in its possession. Another 
important event was the approval of the charter and constitu- 
tion of the Chicago Clearing House Association. By this act 
the institution became a member of that organization. 

A further semi-annual dividend of ten per cent was declared 
for May 1st, it being the last paid at that date. To conform 
with the more usually prevailing practice a resolution was 
adopted in November, 1865, that dividends should thereafter 
be payable on the first days of January and July respectively. 

During 1865 there had not been any change in the board of 
directors. At the beginning of 1 866 all the old members, except 
S. G. D. Howard, were re-elected; in his stead Franklin D. 
Gray was named. At this same time the bank experienced 
another modification in its personnel through the voluntary 
retirement of the cashier, E. E. Braisted. This gentleman had 
rendered great service in helping to place it upon a safe founda- 
tion. His successor does not appear to have been at once 
selected. Charles J. Schmitt was, however, appointed assistant 
cashier on January 9th, and seems to have performed the 
duties of the higher post during several ensuing months, until, 
on December 3d, Cornelius R. Field was chosen to fill it. 

At the opening of the next year (1867), a serious blow was 
sustained in the death of President Aiken, who died suddenly 
of heart disease on January 12th, being then in the fifty-fifth 



year of his age. Under his management the institution had, 
within a brief period, grown to be one of the leading financial 
institutions of the West ; its original projector, he had brought 
it to its present prosperous condition. Hence, fear was 
naturally expressed that his sagacity and counsel might be 
missed. Fortunately, however, in the emergency, the person 
well equipped and thoroughly fitted to assume these arduous 
labors was at hand. On January 23, 1867, Samuel M. Nicker- 
son was promoted to the presidential chair, while Franklin D. 
Gray was elected vice-president. For the next thirty years and 
more these two men were associated in the direction of the bank. 
For them both its interests became their chief care. The one 
as the executive head, the other as his adviser, counselor, and 
friend, strove long and strenuously to advance the welfare of 
the corporation which they so ardently cherished. At the 
annual meeting held this same month, in the place of Messrs. 
Bronson and Sherman, George C. Walker and Mancel Talcott 
were named for the board of directors. Subsequently, on 
March 4th, Henry B. Lewis was designated to succeed Mr. 
Aiken for the remainder of the unexpired term. At a slightly 
later date (June 24, 1867) George Webster was also chosen 
vice Benjamin P. Hutchinson, resigned. 

The most important transaction of this era was the pur- 
chase of the lot on the southwest corner of State and Washing- 
ton streets. Vice-president Gray, who was charged with the 
negotiations, secured the transfer of this piece of ground — 
measuring fifty-five feet on State street by eighty-four feet on 
Washington street — during the last week in March, 1867, for 
the sum of $83,500, being equivalent to $1,500 per foot on the 
State street frontage. The conditions of payment were one- 



fourth cash and balance in three equal installments, payable 
one, two, and three years after date, bearing interest at the 
rate of seven per cent. In September, a building committee, 
consisting of Messrs. Nickerson, Walker, Gray, and Talcott, 
was appointed. A fire-proof edifice was projected, which was 
furnished and occupied in the spring of 1868. As described 
in Industrial Chicago: 

"The old First National Bank building, on the southwest 
corner of State and Washington streets, was completed in 1872 
at a cost of $295,000, $75,000 of which was spent on restoration 
after the fire. It was considered a fire-proof house — iron, 
stone, and brick being the exclusive material, but it did not 
prove itself so in the presence of the great fire of 1871, for the 
inner vaults were the only portions of the building untouched 
by fire. Part of the walls fell in and the iron work was twisted 
or melted. It was a Florentine building, with balustraded 
portico in cut-off and pediment from the cornice. Prior to the 
introduction of modern houses the old First National Bank 
was considered a rare architectural work, and was spoken of 
in connection with the Palmer, Tremont, Field, and other 
leading houses." 

At the close of business on December 31, 1867, the principal 
items, as shown by the statement subsequently published, 
were: Loans and discounts, $1,978,532.39; deposits, $2,125,- 
069.83; capital, $1,000,000; surplus, $100,000; profit and 
loss, $120,477.83. 

The annual election of 1868 resulted in the choice of the 
same directorate and officers. On March 2d, Byron Rice 
resigned from the board, and two months later Henry H. 



Porter was elected to succeed him. About this date Messrs. 
Gray and Webster, together with the president, were, pursuant 
to the provisions of the by-laws, as then lately amended, ap- 
pointed to serve as a "discount committee." 

During the summer of 1868 a momentous change in the 
personnel of the active managers occurred. On July 13, the 
resignation of Cornelius R. Field, as cashier, was accepted, to 
take effect on the first of August following. Before the last 
mentioned day, Lyman J. Gage, then assistant cashier of the 
Merchants' Loan and Trust Company, had been chosen his 
successor. Thenceforth the names of Mr. Gage and the 
First National Bank of Chicago were for many years synony- 

On September 7, 1868, the by-laws were again revised so as 
to provide for a finance committee, in the place of the discount 
committee, to be composed of the president, cashier, and one 
other director, to the care of which the details of financial 
policy were intrusted, besides the authority to discount bills, 
notes, and other evidences of debt, and to buy and sell bills of 
exchange. Mr. Walker was thereupon appointed as the third 

At this time, among all the financial institutions of Chicago, 
the First National Bank was, as it appears from current statis- 
tics, in the lead in capital and surplus ; in loans and discounts, 
and in deposits, the Union National Bank alone surpassed it. 

In 1869 George C. Walker and Henry B. Lewis retired from 
the board of directors, their places being filled by Frederick 
Crumbaugh and Daniel Thompson. Henry R. Symonds was, 
on January 4th, chosen assistant cashier. 


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Southwest Corner Clark and Lake Streets 

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On October 9, 1869, the formal report to the Comptroller 
was as follows: 


Loans and discounts $2,381,957.79 

United States bonds (par value) 767,050.00 

Building, fixtures, and furniture 312,885.05 

Cash resources: 

Due from banks $312,135.74 

Checks for clearing house 232,069.57 

Cash on hand 555,872.53 1,100,077.84 


Capital stock paid in $1,000,000.00 

Surplus fund 200,000.00 

Other undivided profits 72,712.88 

Circulation notes from Comptroller 597,270.00 

Deposits 2,691,987.80 


At the meeting of January 15, 1870, Edward F. Lawrence 
and Lyman J. Gage were elected directors to succeed Messrs. 
Hall and Webster. Henry H. Porter was placed on the 
finance committee, and Messrs. Nickerson, Porter, and Gage 
were appointed to remodel the by-laws of the association. 
Owing to the adoption of a policy of greater conservatism, the 
loans and discounts, as well as deposits, at this date show a 
distinct shrinkage; they were, respectively, $1,862,262.91 and 

On January 10, 1 87 1, the stockholders in annual session 
adopted several amendments to the articles of association, 
the principal provision being for such increase of the capital 
as might be voted by a two-thirds majority of the board of 



directors from time to time until in the total it should aggre- 
gate $3,000,000. The number of directors was also fixed at 
not less than five nor more than thirteen. All the retiring 
members, with the exception of Daniel Thompson, were re- 
elected ; in his stead Benjamin F. Allen was chosen. The same 
officers as heretofore were again named. Subsequently, at 
a meeting of the board, on February 6th, a new series of by- 
laws was voted. 

The great fire of October 9, 1871, swept over the bank 
structure, although the walls were left standing, and a portion 
of the interior was unharmed. For temporary purposes 
quarters were found. First in the old Burlington Warehouse, 
at the corner of State and Sixteenth streets, then in a building 
on Wabash avenue, between Congress and Twelfth, and after- 
wards in a frame structure on the north side of Washington 
street between State and Dearborn, some one hundred feet 
east of the latter thoroughfare, on the site of the old 
Crosby Opera House. On January 1, 1872, business was again 
transacted in the old edifice, which at that time had been 
thoroughly restored. The safes and vaults had withstood the 
heat of the flames; not a security, note, or paper of any value 
was destroyed, and the books were intact. The special com- 
mittee appointed by the directors to ascertain the total loss 
sustained, as the effect of this memorable calamity, reported 
that it did not exceed $250,000, of which $100,000 represented 
the damage to the building. 

During 1872 only one change occurred in the directorate, 
Nelson Morris being elected to succeed Frederick Crumbaugh. 
Charles Hitchcock was also in August of this year appointed 
legal counsel, and the City Bank of London was in June 



designated as foreign correspondent. On December 25th the 
sum of $100,000 was transferred to the surplus fund. The 
financial condition of the bank at the opening of the next year, 
which was to be remarkable as one of depression and panic, 
was excellent. The statement made at the close of 1872 
showed : 


Loans and discounts $2,493,063.06 

United States bonds (par value) 675,800.00 

Building, furniture, and fixtures 264,361.38 

Cash resources: 

Due from banks (Eastern exchange). . $549,058.04 

Cash on hand 921,152.55 1,470,210.59 


Capital stock paid in $1,000,000.00 

Surplus fund 300,000.00 

Other undivided profits 204,959.15 

Circulation notes from Comptroller $602,300.00 

Less amount on hand 14,315.00 587,985.00 

Dividend unpaid 250.00 

Deposits 2,810,240.88 


On February 28, 1873, the First National Bank of Chicago 
had: Loans and discounts, $2,560,897.42; deposits, $3,477,- 
880.12. The worst days of depression did not come until 
autumn. Through these trials and tribulations the institution 
passed unharmed and intact. Not for a moment were its doors 
closed, or the slightest hesitation shown in meeting the demands 
of its depositors. After the crisis had been successfully 
weathered, its prestige was so greatly enhanced that it was 



at once recognized as the foremost bank in Chicago and the 
West. To the fidelity and courage of the cashier, Lyman J. 
Gage, the happy issue from these painful ordeals was chiefly 
due, as is most fittingly testified in appropriate and eulogistic 
language upon the record book of the association. With just 
pride he, in his official capacity, made the following report, as 
specially required by the Comptroller of the Currency. This 
document, memorable in the history of the corporation, de- 
serves reproduction here: 

Special report of condition at close of business October 13 th and 
November 1st, made to the Comptroller of the Currency November 
10, 1873: 

October 13 th November 1st 

Loans (not including demand) $1,772,435.02 $2,007,178.51 

Demand loans 723,200.00 769,000.00 

United States bonds on hand 58,800.00 55,150.00 

Due from reserve agents 306,923.15 265,309.99 

Due from other banks and bankers ... 165,141.25 163,350.05 

Exchange for clearing house 252,389.73 349,304.22 

National bank notes 80,000.00 100,000.00 

Fractional currency 7,985.26 6,131.28 

Coin 81,147.92 56,286.48 

Legal tender 900,000.00 865,000.00 

Capital 1,000,000.00 1,000,000.00 

Circulating notes outstanding 587>575-°° 586,480.00 

Deposits of all kinds 3,149,622.14 3,421,273.42 

Due to banks and bankers 1,054,402.38 1,198,598.75 

Questions. Answers. 

Did your bank suspend currency payments? No. 

Did your bank partially suspend currency pay- 
ments? No. 
On what day did the bank suspend? Did not suspend. 



After this date remarkably few changes occurred in the 
membership of the board of directors. In 1874 H. M. Wil- 
marth succeeded B. F. Allen. In 1879 Horace M. Singer was 
elected in place of Mancel Talcott, deceased. Mr. Talcott 
had died in May, 1878; as "one whose long and devoted serv- 
ices were always marked by the high qualities of personal 
integrity, and intelligent appreciation of the true interests of 
the institution," his loss was keenly felt. 

A notable event is the action taken on December 30, 1879, 
in reference to new quarters. At a meeting of the board of 
directors, held on that day, Mr. Porter called attention to the 
cramped appearance and the existing inconveniences in the 
office arrangements, and it was voted : 

"Whereas, the increase of business of this bank impera- 
tively demands increase of room and facilities to properly ac- 
commodate it, therefore, 

"Resolved, that the president and cashier be and they are 
hereby appointed a committee to ascertain and report upon the 
feasibility of procuring more, whether by the alteration of 
present building and purchasing adjoining lot, or by the sale 
of present building and the purchase of new lot." 

The project of enlarging the structure then occupied by the 
institution was soon found impracticable; consideration was 
therefore given to the selection of another site. During the 
summer of 1880 the decision was gradually reached that the 
northwest corner of Dearborn and Monroe streets, where before 
the fire the post-office had stood, would be an admirable loca- 
tion. This lot was school property. In the original proposi- 



tion made to the Board of Education it was contemplated to 
take a lease for fifty years with an additional option of twenty 
years, and to erect a fire-proof building, of which the upper 
floor should be rented to the board and to the public library. 
It was also necessary to buy out the leasehold interest held 
by J. H. Haverly in the old post-office building, then known 
as the Haverly Theatre. Arrangements had been completed 
in accordance with these plans, when in June, 1881, a change in 
policy, due to certain provisions of the National Banking Act, 
was adopted. It was determined to organize, as a subsidiary 
corporation, the "National Safe Deposit Company," with a 
capital of $300,000 divided into three thousand shares of $100 
each. The bank in its corporate capacity subscribed for 
$299,100 of this stock, the remainder being taken by its di- 
rectors as individuals. The new company was substituted as 
lessee in the pending transaction. The annual rental for the 
lot during the first five years was fixed at six per cent on a 
valuation of $345,000, and it was stipulated that the edifice 
to be constructed should cost not less than $300,000. This 
offer was accepted and the agreement, as executed, began to 
run from July 1, 1881. Since then several reappraisements of 
the ground have been made. The bank itself in time took from 
the National Safe Deposit Company a lease of the main floor 
of the block then immediately erected. The new quarters were 
occupied on November 27, 1882. 

Again to quote from Industrial Chicago : 

"The First National Bank building is a six-story and base- 
ment structure, Romanesque in style, with basement and first 
story in vermiculated stone and the upper stories in pressed 
brick; a Roman-Doric portico shows two polished granite 



columns on either side corresponding with pilasters carrying a 
heavy entablature and balustrade. In the central and corner 
pavilions the horizontal style of the recessed sections merges 
into the vertical. The portico extends to the level of 
the second principal floor, and piers in the corner project, 
corresponding with it, thus carrying the high basement and 
first floor in one story. The second and third stories are also 
carried in one by pilasters, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth are 
compressed into one story for architectural effect; the two 
windows of the sixth story in each corner pavilion and three 
in the central pavilion showing the round arch finishing a 
section. The cornice is becoming, and the parapets above it, 
in the pavilions, render the sky-line perfect. This house oc- 
cupies the site of the ' Honest Building* which was restored after 
the fire and used up to 1882, when it was torn down. The 
bank hall, occupying the first floor, is lighted by a great court. 
While the mural decorations and furniture are of the highest 
class, they are lost in the business air which pervades this hall, 
so that to pick them out one must visit the bank with that sole 

On November 7, 1881, resolutions were passed, in accord- 
ance with which the capital stock was increased to the sum of 
$2,000,000, the additional amount required being rapidly sub- 
scribed. Thus the bank, while approaching the original term 
of its existence, was daily growing and developing in every 
direction. Nor were those charged with the conservation of its 
interests indifferent or ungrateful to the men upon whom the 
routine labors fell. The corporation early manifested its ap- 
preciation of faithful and arduous service. A pleasing custom, 
soon observed by the board of directors, was that of voting, 



upon the recurrence of every new year, substantial gifts to the 
officers and employees who were toiling for success and greater 
achievement. This practice gradually arose, until at the 
close of 1 88 1 perhaps the largest sum ever thus bestowed was 
appropriated ; $20,000 was then distributed. Merit and ability 
were likewise always rewarded by increase of salary and cor- 
responding promotion. Several instances might be cited of 
men, who from the ranks, have risen to lucrative and control- 
ling positions. 

With the advent of 1882 the association was necessarily 
obliged to anticipate the early discontinuance of its activities 
or at least its technical reorganization. The hope had been 
cherished that Congress would pass a measure enabling national 
banks to prolong the term of their existence, or renew their 
charters upon conditions which might permit them to retain 
their corporate identity. But such action was not taken. The 
bill for that purpose pending in the spring of 1882 was long and 
tediously debated. The first of May, when the privileges of 
"The First National Bank of Chicago, Number 8," would 
expire, was not many weeks distant. After serious considera- 
tion, it was therefore determined to be best that the institution 
should go into voluntary liquidation. Its property was 
offered for sale ; it was resolved that its doors should be closed 
on Saturday, April 29, 1882, and all other requisite formalities 
were executed. Its assets, of course, were without delay 
transferred to its legal successor, known as "The First National 
Bank of Chicago, Number 2670." The books were balanced 
and a complete settlement of affairs was made, the stockholders, 
in conclusion, receiving $294.12 for every share held. 

Such is the record of prosperity enjoyed by this establish- 


' I 



ment during the period of its first organization, extending from 
1863 to 1882; of their success, the men who attained it may- 
well be proud. For nearly twenty years they had wisely and 
diligently worked in harmony; to another term of equal length 
they were eagerly looking forward, for the second corporation, 
while then by law newly created, was in the personnel of its 
membership still one and the same. 



THE new organization was completed on April 25, 1882, 
when the subscribers to the stock met, adopted a 
series of by-laws, and elected a board of directors. 
The incorporators, together with the number of 
shares respectively held by them, were: 

Samuel M. Nickerson .... 7100 

Lyman J. Gage 2334 

George N. Culver 100 

Matilda P. Nickerson .... 200 

Thos. P. Smith 310 

George W. Higgins 350 

Henry E. Sawyer 200 

Moses W. Gray 120 

Roland C. Nickerson 20 

Henry H. Porter 300 

Edward F. Lawrence 220 

Nathaniel K. Fairbank. . . 300 

Mary H. Talcott 600 

Horace M. Singer 600 

William W. Kimball 28 

Samuel W. Allerton 1864 

Jane A. Brooks 100 


Franklin D. Gray 450 

Edward C. Sawyer 60 

Charles H. Curtis 100 

Isaac Eldridge 40 

Magdelina P, Sample .... 50 

George T. Smith 300 

Richard J. Street 12 

Harry C. Sawyer 10 

Nelson Morris 1000 

Henry R. Symonds 2250 

Henry M. Wilmarth .... 400 

Theodore A. Shaw 100 

Stephen B. Roath 100 

Sarah Morris 172 

John M. Williams 50 

William J. Wilson 100 

George P. Sanford 60 

The total capital was thus $2,000,000, divided into 
twenty thousand shares of $100 each. The articles of associa- 
tion provided that the charter should run for twenty years, or 
until April 25, 1902; that the capital might be augmented, 
upon certain conditions, to a sum not to exceed $10,000,000, 
and that the number of directors should be not less than five nor 



more than fifteen. The first board chosen consisted of Samuel 
M. Nickerson, Edward F. Lawrence, Nelson Morris, Franklin 
D. Gray, Henry H. Porter, Lyman J. Gage, Samuel W. Aller- 
ton, Henry M. Wilmarth, Horace M. Singer, and Henry R. 
Symonds, all of whom, but the last named and additional 
member, had served under the old regime. When the directors 
assembled they elected Samuel M. Nickerson president, and 
Franklin D. Gray vice-president. Lyman J. Gage was ap- 
pointed cashier, and Henry R. Symonds assistant cashier. 
From this list of names it is at once apparent that the present 
corporation was in every respect not only the continuation but 
the counterpart of its predecessor. Theoretically and legally 
they were different entities, but practically they were one and 
the same institution. On May I, 1882, John J. Knox the 
Comptroller of the Currency, authorized the commencement of 
business under charter known as Number 2670, and that day 
the bank reopened its doors, in the same well-known quarters, 
the entire assets having been transferred by purchase from the 
liquidated to the new organization. 

Aside from the radical change which had thus occurred, this 
year was also in several respects notable. Within one week 
after the events just related, the decision was taken, on May 6, 
1882, to increase the capital stock to $3,000,000, a resolution 
which was speedily effected. The sale of the old building on 
the southwest corner of State and Washington streets, for the 
sum of $230,000, was concluded on June 5th. On June 26th 
the policy of declaring quarterly dividends was adopted, the 
first of two per cent being ordered payable at the end of that 
month; on the same day Henry M. Kingman was appointed 
assistant cashier. One of the most important incidents in the 



history of the association happened September 4, 1882. Upon 
this occasion Franklin D. Gray resigned as vice-president, a 
position which he had honorably and successfully held since 
1867. Lyman J. Gage, formerly cashier, was promoted to be 
his successor. However arduous the duties of Mr. Gage had 
heretofore proven, they were thenceforth to be multiplied many 
fold; for the principal executive management was now confided 
to his care. Henry R. Symonds was chosen cashier, Henry M. 
Kingman assistant cashier, and Richard J. Street second 
assistant cashier. 

At the meeting of December 26th the surplus of $100,000 
was doubled, and an appropriation of $20,000 made for New 
Year's gifts to worthy and meritorious employees. 

At the annual session of the stockholders on January 9, 
1883, the board of directors was increased by one additional 
member, and Augustus A. Carpenter was chosen to fill the 
place. In the spring the banking rooms were first lighted with 
electricity. The generally excellent facilities then enjoyed for 
doing business are evidenced by the national bank examiner, 
who writes, "The office arrangements are far superior to those 
of any other institution in the country." The rule of requiring 
all employees to give bond was likewise now adopted. An ad- 
ditional sum of $100,000 was, in December, carried to the 
surplus fund. Otherwise the year was uneventful in the 
domestic affairs of the corporation. Attention should never- 
theless be directed to the fact that the bank, as appears from a 
comparison of the reports submitted to the Comptroller of the 
Currency, had then attained fourth rank among all the finan- 
cial establishments of the United States. 



During 1884 not anything of importance, save the further 
increase of the surplus by $100,000, is to be noted. The state- 
ment of condition made in December, 1884, showed: 


Loans and discounts $10,068,871.00 

United States bonds (par value) 80,600.00 

Other bonds and stocks (market value) 544,850.00 

Bank building 500,000.00 

Cash resources: 
Checks for clearing house and cash on hand 8,283,339.00 


Capital stock paid in $ 3,000,000.00 

Surplus fund 400,000.00 

Other undivided profits 350,607.00 

Deposits 15,727,053.00 


The election of directors for 1885 resulted in the return of 
the former members of the board ; but the circle was soon to be 
broken, for on February 27th, Henry M. Wilmarth was called 
to his last rest. For eleven years he had faithfully conserved 
the welfare of the institution; his associates in its management 
united in testifying to "the high integrity and clear apprecia- 
tion of principle which marked his every act and word in this 
relationship." In the following autumn Eugene S. Pike was 
chosen to fill the vacancy. 

At this time the official records first mention the arrange- 
ment of the bank for serving its employees their daily lunch in 
the building. In the report of the national examiner, dated 
September, 1885, a paragraph appears, wherein it is stated that 



a kitchen, a dining-room, cooks and stewards being provided, 
"the entire force from president to janitor take their midday 
meal on the premises." This scheme is still in force. Before 
the close of the year an additional $100,000 was carried to the 
surplus fund, and a contribution of $500 voted to the memorial 
window to be placed in the Second Universalist Church of 
Chicago in memory of the late Mancel Talcott, who for a 
decade was a member of the board of directors. 

During 1886 the bank was silently but steadily growing. 
On February 13, of that year, the Clerks' Savings Association 
was formed for the benefit of employees, upon whose savings, 
under certain restrictions interest at the rate of five per cent 
per annum was allowed. The Association is still existant. On 
March 31st the bank joined with its associate institutions in 
recommending to the Comptroller that Chicago be designated, 
pursuant to the act of Congress of March 3, 1887, as a central 
reserve city; such action was taken in due course. Slightly 
later $250,000 was likewise added to the surplus, a similar 
amount being once more appropriated for the same purpose in 
June, 1888. 

In January, 1888, Horace M. Singer retired, after nine 
years' membership on the board of directors, and Orville Peck- 
ham, long employed as special counsel, was chosen to succeed 
him. Mr. Peckham served until 1890, and again from 1891 
to 1892. During 1889 c asn prizes, aggregating in the total 
$600 annually, were also inaugurated, to be awarded to such 
clerks as should, during any one year, prove themselves the 
most efficient, exact in their duties, and the most apt in dis- 
covering errors. In order to determine the recipients, a com- 
plete system of daily marking was instituted. 



Attention may here also be especially directed to the bond 
and foreign departments, the business of which was already 
at this date being kept entirely separate and distinct from the 
other divisions of the bank. 

On December n, 1889, the statement of condition showed: 


Loans and discounts $15,803,617.00 

United States bonds (par value) 57,200.00 

Other bonds and stocks (market value) 881,550.00 

Real estate, furniture, and fixtures 500,000.00 

Cash resources: 
Checks for clearing house and cash on hand 12,357,180.00 


Capital stock paid in $ 3,000,000.00 

Surplus fund 1,500,000.00 

Other undivided profits 797,107.00 

Deposits 24,302,440.00 


The Very last day of the year $250,000 was again voted to 
the surplus fund. 

At the annual meeting of the stockholders on January 14, 
1890, Norman B. Ream was elected a director in the place of 
Mr. Peckham; otherwise the board remained unchanged. One 
sign of rising prosperity during the year was the increase in 
the rate of the quarterly dividends from two and one-half per 
cent to three per cent. For some time previously they had 
been declared at the former figure. 

When the board of directors met, on January 23, 1891, to 



organize, the following letter from President Nickerson was 
presented and read: 

"Before proceeding to the election of officers for the ensu- 
ing year, I wish to state that should you decide to elect me 
president, it must be with the understanding and notice that I 
shall resign the office whenever Mr. L. J. Gage shall be relieved 
from his duties as president of the World's Fair, and can devote 
all his time to the affairs of this bank; and when that time 
arrives I shall take pleasure in co-operating with you in electing 
him to take my place, if you then decide to do so. It would be 
my desire to continue as a director of this bank, and co-operate 
with you in working for its interests and success. It is not my 
intention to engage in any other business. I have arrived 
at a time of life when I feel it to be my duty to delegate to 
younger heads and hands the responsibilities that are involved 
in the position I have held in this bank for the past twenty-four 
years as president, and four years previously as vice-president, 
which covers the entire time since its organization in 1863. The 
success which has attended this bank is known to you all. For 
this I have to thank the directors and other officers, who, by 
their advice and labor, have made this success possible. Thank- 
ing you for your many evidences of confidence and goodwill, 
and hoping that the future success of the bank may, under your 
direction, be equal to or better than the past, I await your de- 
cision as indicated above." 

Mr. Nickerson was then re-elected to the presidency. On 
June 30, 1 89 1, he resigned; whereupon the following resolution 
was unanimously adopted: 

M Resolved, that the thanks of the stockholders of this bank 


Southwest Corner State and Washington Streets 


are justly due to Mr. Samuel M. Nickerson for the efficient and 
faithful manner in which, for so many years, he has discharged 
the duties of president of this institution. 

"In accepting his resignation this day tendered, this board 
desires to place on record its high appreciation of his adminstra- 
tion. We congratulate ourselves, however, that in his retire- 
ment from the office of president, the bank will still retain 
in him as a director the wise counsel which his long experience 
has so well qualified him to give." 

The board forthwith proceeded to elect Lyman J. Gage 
president. The other officers then chosen were: first vice- 
president, Henry R. Symonds; second vice-president, Henry 
M. Kingman; cashier, Richard J. Street; assistant cashier, 
Holmes Hoge; George D. Boulton was appointed manager of 
the foreign exchange and bond department. The resignation 
of Henry H. Porter, who had been a director for thirteen years, 
was likewise accepted, and Orville Peckham, as heretofore 
noted, designated temporarily to succeed him. 

Before the close of the year another serious loss was suffered 
in the death of the second vice-president, Henry M. Kingman, 
who for a long period and in several capacities had been in the 
employ of the bank. He died on December 16, 1891. At the 
meeting of the board, on the 29th of that month, appropriate 
resolutions were unanimously adopted. They read in part: 


Resolved, that this board deeply feels that in him (Henry 
M. Kingman) the bank has lost a long tried servant, in whom 
the highest integrity was united with a clear and wide com- 
prehension of his work and responsibility as a banker and bank 
officer, and admirable industry and address in the performance 



of that work. As citizens in the same community in which he 
lived, we lament his death as a loss which must be heavily felt 
in the wide sphere of usefulness beyond that special field which 
he shared with us; and individually we mourn him and re- 
member him with affection as a true and helpful friend." 

At the opening of 1892 a new force entered the councils of 
the institution. James B. Forgan, formerly cashier of the 
Northwestern National Bank of Minneapolis, Minnesota, then 
became a director, and likewise second vice-president. He was 
not, however, destined long to remain in this latter position, 
for the way was soon free for his promotion. The hand of 
time was being heavily laid upon those who had faithfully 
and arduously served the interests of the corporation. On 
March 26, 1892, the bank was called to mourn Henry R. 
Symonds, its first vice-president, who had been connected with 
it for nearly a quarter of a century. The directors, at the sug- 
gestion of Mr. Allerton, formally testified to their grief in these 
words : 

"His clear comprehension of the great trust imposed upon 
him; his earnest application to duty; his scrupulous regard 
for the interests he represented; his prudence, fortitude, and 
courage, made his official life most effective and valuable." 

In due course James B. Forgan was chosen first vice-presi- 
dent and Roland C. Nickerson was selected to succeed Mr. 
Symonds on the board. 

On October 25, 1892, the sum of $300,000 was subscribed 
to the bonds of the Columbian Exposition, this amount being 
the proportionate share of the institution upon the basis of a 



total of $2,300,000 to be contributed by all the banks of the 
city, reckoned at the rate of five per cent on their capital and 
surplus. At the close of the year $1,000,000 more was trans- 
ferred to the last-mentioned fund. 

During 1893 Frank E. Brown was elected second assistant 
cashier. Owing to the large accumulation of old books, papers, 
and records, a special storehouse for them was erected about 
this time. 

The statement of condition on December 19, 1894, showed: 


Loans and discounts $17,884,431.00 

United States bonds (par value) 778,636.00 

Other bonds and stocks (market value) 1,605,378.00 

Real estate, furniture, and fixtures 675,000.00 

Cash resources: 

Checks for clearing house and cash on hand 14,725,241.00 


Capital stock paid in $ 3,000,000.00 

Surplus fund 3,000,000.00 

Other undivided profits 316,135.00 

Deposits 29,352,551.00 


Throughout 1895 the continued depression in all lines of 
business was severely felt. For a number of years the institu- 
tion had phenomenally prospered. Hence it was without any 
grave misgivings that the directors faced the existing financial 
crisis. Nevertheless they did not deceive themselves with any 
false views or rosy-hued dreams. They met conditions as 
they found them, and having decided to rid the books of all 



doubtful and worthless assets, they resolutely determined to 
take the stockholders into their full confidence. To this end, 
after due deliberation, it was, on August 2, 1895, voted: 

"Resolved, that the officers of this bank be, and they are 
hereby directed to transfer one million of dollars from the 
credit of surplus account to the credit of profit and loss account, 
and then to charge into the latter account such items of real 
estate as have been taken by the bank in settlement of claims ; 
also such items of impaired notes and bills as may in their 
opinion be bad, or such proportion thereof as they may deem 
necessary to bring the same to the value of a fair cash realiza- 
tion, together with any items of stocks or bonds of doubtful 
value; and they are hereby directed to make a full report of 
all such items as charged at the next regular meeting of this 

"Resolved, that the address to stockholders indicative of 
this action, here submitted by the president, be adopted and 
spread upon the records, and a copy thereof be sent to the 
stockholders, to wit: 

Chicago, III., July 30, 1895. 

We submit herewith, for information of shareholders, the follow- 
ing statement of facts: 

This bank (present organization) began business May 1, 1882, 
practically thirteen years ago. Since that date it has paid: 

To shareholders in the way of dividends $4,245,000 

In city, county, and state taxes for its shareholders 792,000 

It has to the credit of surplus account 3,000,000 

And in undivided profits 2 15,000 

Total net earnings $8,252,000 



Average earnings per year, say $634,000 

Average annual percentage of profits on its capital of 

$3,000,000 21.13% 

Average dividends paid to shareholders 10.88% 

Average dividends for last six years 12.00% 

"It has now been determined by the directors to transfer 
$1,000,000 from surplus account to the credit of profit and loss, 
and then charge into the latter account items of impaired bills, 
stocks of uncertain value, together with sundry items of real 
estate falling into the bank's hands through settlement of 
claims, etc., so that such items will no longer be reckoned as 
live assets of the bank, but as realized upon, will again appear 
to the credit of profit and loss in the amount of their actual 
realization. With the million dollars put aside out of the ac- 
cumulated profits and thus applied, the result of the bank's 
business as to profits would appear as follows : 

Profits paid in dividends $4,245,000 

Profits paid in taxes 792,000 

To credit of surplus account 2,000,000 

To credit of profit and loss 215,000 


Average net profit per annum 557,846 

Average per cent of earnings on capital of $3,000,000 18.59% 

"The officers and directors are moved to this action by a 
desire to keep the assets clear of doubtful values. With the 
usual average of surplus earnings in excess of dividends made, 
the directors believe that such items of doubtful value might 
be taken care of, as actual loss is defined, but they think it 
better to adopt the bolder, broader policy herein indicated. 
The growing burden of taxation is severe enough if levied only 



against absolute value. The reduction of surplus should save 
one-sixth of the local taxes, the full amount of which last year 
was $90,250. 

"We have been passing through a period of shrinking values 
and commercial depression, unparalleled in twenty years. 
Whether this period is fully past cannot yet be determined with 
certainty. Until so determined it will be our policy to restrict 
operations and to carry large cash reserves against all con- 
tingencies. Net profits may be somewhat less than could be 
desired, but we see no reason why our established rate of 
dividend, three per cent, quarterly, cannot be continued, with a 
growing balance to the credit of profit and loss account at each 
quarterly period." 

This action placed the institution on a thoroughly sound 
basis. There was no undue inflation. Every figure was 
warranted by the facts, and the road was again clear for 
further unimpeded advancement. Toward the close of this 
same year (1895) an arrangement was perfected with the 
other banks in the clearing house approving the use of clear- 
ing-house certificates, in case of need, but none were issued. 

Upon the election of Mr. McKinley in 1896, it was at once 
suggested that Mr. Gage should enter the new cabinet as the 
recipient of the treasury portfolio. In due time the offer was 
made and accepted. The assumption of this post naturally 
necessitated the severance of his relations with the bank. At 
a meeting of the board of directors, held on February II, 1897, 
Mr. Gage tendered his resignation and it was thereupon unan- 
imously voted: 


Whereas, Lyman J. Gage, president of this bank and a 



member of this board, has tendered his resignation of both 
positions in order that he may enter the Cabinet of President 
McKinley : 

"Therefore resolved, that, deferring to his wish, which we 
are aware signifies no selfish preference, but springs from a high 
sense of public duty, we hereby accept these resignations, to 
take effect at the close of business February 15th next, the time 
mentioned by him. In thus yielding to the request of Mr. 
Gage to sever a connection that has existed for thirty years, 
and submitting to the deprivation of his counsel and official 
direction in the management of the bank, we desire to bear 
testimony to the universal respect and affection felt for him 
by all his associates, as well as to express our appreciation of 
the tact, ability, and probity which he has so faithfully used 
to develop the strength of this institution, and which with his 
many other rare qualities signalize him as a citizen. 

"As he leaves us to become Secretary of the Treasury, a 
position for which his peculiar fitness has been so generally 
recognized by the whole country, we are filled with the hope 
that his efforts in the broad field of national affairs will be 
marked by the same success that has distinguished his career 
as a banker. 

"Resolved, that this resolution be spread upon the records 
of the bank, and that a copy be given to Mr. Gage." 

With the retirement of Mr. Gage from all connection with 
the bank, it was expected that James B. Forgan would succeed 
him as the head of the institution, but owing to the condition 
of this gentleman's health at that time, and his enforced ab- 
sence for this reason in Europe, the immediate fruition of these 



plans was deemed impracticable. A temporary arrangement 
was therefore reached in the resumption of the presidency by 
Samuel M. Nickerson and the continuance of James B. Forgan 
as vice-president, with the understanding that the latter would 
be elected to the presidency as soon as his health should have 
sufficiently improved. George D. Boulton, who had for many 
years been serving in various capacities, was chosen to succeed 
Mr. Gage on the board of directors, and was likewise elected 
second vice-president. 

In December, 1898, the bank suffered loss in the death of 
Edward F. Lawrence, who, since 1870, had sat almost con- 
tinuously on the board of directors, and had, during that 
entire period, rendered distinguished and valuable services. 
The following resolution attests the love and esteem in which 
he was held. 


'Resolved, that we now express our deep and abid- 
ing sense of the loss which has befallen this institution 
which he loved and served, and ourselves as his colleagues and 
friends. His service as a director was made of uncommon value 
by the excellence of his business judgment, and the large 
measure of time which he devoted to the bank willingly and 
without stint. His methods were ever straightforward and 
honorable, bearing the mark of his fine integrity and open and 
generous character. He won the confidence of all who knew 
him by deserving it. He was a public-spirited and useful 
citizen, giving freely of his time and means to promote the 
best interests of Chicago." 

At the next annual meeting of the stockholders George T. 
Smith was chosen a director to succeed Mr. Lawrence. 


After the Fire of 1871 


In the spring of 1899, at the instance of Vice-President J. B. 
Forgan, an important step in accord with modern thought and 
policy was taken. A committee was, on March 28th, ap- 
pointed to consider the feasibility of establishing a system of 
pensions for old employees; if advisable, it was directed to 
prepare and submit to the board the outlines of a plan to effect 
this purpose. One month later a report favorable to the 
project was presented, and the adoption of a set of rules was 

On October 31st Mr. Nickerson verbally stated to the 
board of directors his intention again to retire from the presi- 
dency at the beginning of the next year. Before the close of 
1899 another veteran of prominence and distinction in its 
affairs also severed his official connection with the institution. 
At the meeting of December 26th the resignation of Franklin 
D. Gray was read and accepted, with the following formal 
expression : 


'Resolved, that in taking this action we desire to express 
to Mr. Gray and to place upon our records our sense of the 
faithfulness and value of his long service, and to thank him 
therefor in the name of the bank. He has been a director in 
the present bank from the date of its organization, prior to 
which time he had served the original First National Bank of 
Chicago since 1866 in the same capacity, making a practically 
continuous service of some thirty-three years. For fifteen 
years he was also vice-president of the original bank. This 
long and honorable connection is now severed with regret on 
both sides and at Mr. Gray's request; and the thanks of this 
board in behalf of the bank are hereby tendered to him." 



Upon this same occasion, and in view of his impending re- 
tirement from the active control, a formal request was made of 
Mr. Nickerson that he sit for a life-sized oil portrait to be hung 
upon the walls of the president's room. In due course this 
picture was painted and presented by him as a gift to the 

On January 9, 1900, the stockholders elected Otto Young to 
succeed Franklin D. Gray, resigned, and Charles H. Conover 
in the place of Roland C. Nickerson, on the board of directors. 
Thereupon James B. Forgan was chosen president; George D. 
Boulton, vice-president; Richard J. Street, cashier; Holmes 
Hoge, Frank E. Brown, and Charles N. Gillett, assistant 
cashiers; Emile K. Boisot, manager of the foreign exchange 
and bond department; John E. Gardin, assistant manager of 
same department, and Frank O. Wetmore, auditor. 

Augustus A. Carpenter, a member of the board for seven- 
teen years, tendered his resignation on June 26, 1900, the 
directors testifying that "we desire to express to him our high 
appreciation of him as a man and as a director of this bank 
during his long term of service, and to thank him for these 
valuable services. He entered the directory of this bank on 
January 9, 1883, and has served thereon continuously up to the 
present time. We deem it a privilege to have been associated 
with him in the bank's affairs, and the severance of his con- 
nection with us causes deep feelings of regret." 

A momentous change was now on the eve of achievement. 
Consolidation of capital had become the prevailing characteris- 
tic of the age. With the increase in the magnitude of industrial 
corporations, the financial interests of the country must keep 



pace. In order to afford the accommodation at times required 
by manufacturing and commercial establishments of the first 
rank, the department of credit must be organized on a similar 
scale. The appreciation of these truths necessarily demanded 
the extension of the facilities of banks, notwithstanding the 
fact that they may already have been in the enjoyment of 
large resources and the best possible equipment. Speedily 
and efficaciously to satisfy these requirements it seemed most 
expedient in such instances to unite the energies of two or more 
pre-existing institutions. In accordance with this tendency, 
the First National Bank and the Union National Bank, both 
veterans and old-time rivals in the financial world of Chicago, 
entered into negotiations during the spring of 1900, for the 
purpose of determining upon what basis they might combine 
their forces. 

In June, 1900, President Forgan, together with Directors 
Smith and Young, were appointed on the part of the former to 
meet the representatives of the other bank for a preliminary 
discussion of the proposition. Pursuant to the suggestion sub- 
sequently made by this committee, a call was issued, on June 
19th, to the stockholders, summoning a special meeting for 
July 24th, to consider the advisability of augmenting the stock 
of the First National Bank to $5,000,000, and for such other 
action as might be taken. 

On the day appointed the stockholders assembled, passed 
the requisite resolutions to fix the capital at $5,000,000; and 
enlarging the number of directors to fifteen, as provided in the 
by-laws, elected John H. Barker, William L. Brown, D. Mark 
Cummings, and John A. Spoor, all formerly on the directory of 
the Union National Bank, as the additional members. David 



R. Forgan, lately president of the Union National Bank, was 
elected to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of 
Mr. Carpenter, and further chosen senior vice-president. 
August Blum, formerly cashier of the liquidating bank, was like- 
wise named one of the assistant cashiers to rank second in 
point of seniority. 

With these proceedings and the purchase of the assets of 
the Union National Bank — the new stock of the First National 
Bank, issued for such purpose, being subscribed by the former 
stockholders of the retiring institution — the amalgamation was 
effected September I, 1900. As a record of the magnitude of 
the transaction and the interests involved, it seems appropriate 
to show the respective conditions of the two banks just prior 
to this event. The statement of the First National Bank on 
June 29, 1900, showed: 


Loans $28,710,352.00 

United States bonds (to secure circulation) 700,000.00 

United States bonds (to secure U. S. deposits) 300,000.00 

United States bonds on hand 234,550.00 

Other bonds 4, 572,497.00 

Cash and exchange 21,757,276.00 



Capital and surplus $ 5,000,000.00 

Undivided profits 673,802.00 

Circulation 554>33o.oo 

Deposits 50,046,543.00 



The Union National Bank, on the same date, reported: 


Loans $10,140,410.00 

United States bonds (to secure circulation) 700,000.00 

Other bonds 197,802.00 

Cash and exchange 6,017,871.00 

Real estate and fixtures 3 14,805.00 

Premiums on United States bonds 31,550,00 


Capital and surplus $ 2,370,000.00 

Undivided profits 74,703.00 

Circulation 350,000.00 

Deposits 14,607,735.00 



After the consolidation had been concluded, the statement 
of the First National Bank on September 5, 1900, read: 


Loans $39,2 19,804.00 

United States bonds (to secure circulation) 1,000,000.00 

United States bonds (to secure U. S. deposits) 300,000.00 

United States bonds on hand 174,080.00 

Other bonds 5,530,291.00 

Cash and exchange 29,793,035.00 


Capital and surplus $ 7,000,000.00 

Undivided profits 1,517,040.00 

Circulation 533 ,300.00 

Deposits 66,966,870.00 



At the annual election of 190 1 the first complete board of 
directors chosen under the new regime was composed of Samuel 
M. Nickerson, Samuel W. Allerton, Nelson Morris, Eugene S. 
Pike, Norman B. Ream, James B. Forgan, George D. Boulton, 
George T. Smith, Otto Young, Charles H. Conover, John H. 
Barker, William L. Brown, D. Mark Cummings, John A. Spoor, 
and David R. Forgan. The officers then named were: Presi- 
dent, James B. Forgan; vice-presidents, David R. Forgan and 
George D. Boulton; cashier, Richard J. Street; assistant 
cashiers, Holmes Hoge, August Blum, Frank E. Brown, Charles 
N. Gillett; manager of foreign exchange and bond department, 
Emile K. Boisot; assistant manager, John E. Gardin; auditor, 
Frank O. Wetmore; attorney, Orville Peckham; assistant 
attorney, James D. Woley. 

In the practical working of the bank a slight change sub- 
sequently occurred. On June 25, 1901, the foreign exchange 
and bond business was separated into two distinct departments. 
Of the former John E. Gardin was appointed manager, and Max 
May assistant manager; of the latter Emile K. Boisot re- 
mained in charge as manager. 

As indicative .of the magnitude of the transactions of the 
bank during 1 901, it may be noted that in that year the average 
number of items handled each day was 64,402 ; the total volume 
of business aggregated $8,199,570,400; the out-of-town items 
collected daily averaged 11,030; the clearings during the 
entire year were $1,550,471,975.78, equivalent to $5,000,000 
per day. The total annual clearings of all the Chicago banks 
were $7,756,372,455.31, showing that the share of the First 
National Bank therein was one-fifth. As indicative of the 
growth both of the bank and the city the clearings for 19 12 



may be quoted; for the First National Bank they were $3,- 
309,322,58048 while for Chicago the figures were $15,380,- 
795,541.82, this bank having 21.5 per cent of the total. 

The tendency toward the amalgamation of financial forces, 
as illustrated in the consolidation of the Union National Bank 
with the First National Bank, was still further exemplified in 
the spring of 1902 by the absorption of the Metropolitan Na- 
tional Bank in the latter institution. The management of the 
Metropolitan — in itself of large proportions, as measured by 
the standards of quite a recent day — deemed it for the best 
interests of those identified with it to seek association with 
some larger bank. After a prosperous existence of eighteen 
years it was considered advisable to combine its strength with 
that of its well-known competitor. Thus it came to pass that 
after the usual negotiations and formalities attendant upon 
such a transaction the merger was accomplished. In the last 
officially published statement, dated April 30, 1902, the Metro- 
politan National Bank showed assets and liabilities as follows : 


Loans and discounts $14,727,611.61 

Overdrafts secured and unsecured 4,758.83 

United States bonds (at par) 1,000,000.00 

Other stocks and bonds 860,233.33 

Due from banks $3>°97>655.oo 

Cash and checks for clearing 7,002,948.89 10,100,603.98 

Due from United States Treasurer 42,000=00 




Capital stock paid in $ 2,000,000.00 

Surplus fund and undivided profits 1,626,287.98 

National bank notes outstanding 834,150.00 

Dividends unpaid 1,504.50 

Deposits 22,273,265.27 


Shortly after the consolidation, which was finally con- 
summated on June 2, 1902, the statement of the First National 
Bank, issued upon the call of the Comptroller of the Currency 
July 16, 1902, reads: 


Loans and discounts $60,714,406.72 

United States bonds (par value) 1,794,740.00 

Other bonds and securities (market value) 7,802,249.44 

Cash resources: 

Due from banks (Eastern exchange) $15,238,725.99 

Checks for clearing house 3,024,650.22 

Cash on hand 19,626,408.04 

Due from United States Treasurer. 169,000.00 38,058,784.25 


Capital stock paid in $ 8,000,000.00 

Surplus fund 4,000,000.00 

Undivided profits 2,095,966.41 

Discount collected but not earned 378,268.78 

Special deposit of United States bonds 200,000.00 

Circulating notes received from Comp- 
troller $996,000.00 

Less amount on hand 265,810.00 730,190.00 

Dividends unpaid 7,796.00 

Deposits 92,957,959.22 


I ■ 

> 1 > > » J , 

• 1 •' • ■ I , 

I I > J 1 

Northwest Corner Dearborn and Monroe Streets 

. . I , • 


As a part of the arrangement for the union of the two banks, 
Elbridge G. Keith, Adolphus C. Bartlett, and William J. 
Watson, formerly directors in the Metropolitan National 
Bank, were chosen to represent the interests of the liquidating 
institution upon the directorate of the First National Bank. 
Charles H. Conover at the same time retired from the board 
of the latter. All the former officers of the First National 
Bank were retained; of the gentlemen lately associated with 
the Metropolitan, other than those already mentioned, Howard 
H. Hitchcock was elected a vice-president to rank third in 
seniority, and Edward Dickinson as assistant cashier, likewise 
to be third among those occupying such positions. In both 
consolidations positions for the clerical forces, corresponding 
as nearly as possible to those held in their respective institu- 
tions, were provided in the First National Bank, provision 
being made for credit in the pension fund for previous service. 

At the close of the year 1902, the surplus was increased by 
the transfer of one million dollars from the profit and loss 

The bank's charter was extended under date of April 25, 
1902, for a period of twenty years, in accordance with the Act 
approved July 12, 1882, formal consent having been secured 
from shareholders, representing more than two-thirds of the 
stock outstanding. In recognition of the desirability of a 
larger board of directors commensurate with increased and 
growing business the articles of association were amended to 
provide for twenty-one members, the following gentlemen, 
chosen at the annual meeting in January of 1903, served 
throughout the year, being re-elected January 12, 1904: 



Samuel W. Allerton, A. C. Bartlett, James B. Forgan, 
Nelson Morris, Norman B. Ream, William L. Brown, John H. 
Barker, David R. Forgan, Samuel M. Nickerson, George T # 
Smith, Geo. D. Boulton, D. Mark Cummings, Elbridge G. 
Keith, Eugene S. Pike, John A. Spoor, William J. Watson, 
Otto Young, James H. Hyde, Charles Deering, Henry H. 
Porter, Jr., George F. Baker 

The era marked by consolidations may be fairly regarded 
as having closed. The story of a new epoch equally remark- 
able, but in other directions, remains to be told. 



WHEN the First National Bank originally occupied 
quarters at the northwest corner of Dearborn 
and Monroe streets in 1882, they were considered 
ample for a long term of years. The National 
Safe Deposit Company, the entire capital stock of which was 
then owned by the bank, had erected upon ground leased from 
the Board of Education an edifice especially for the accom- 
modation of the First National Bank. 

During the twenty years following the business of the 
bank increased in an ever-ascending ratio, and gradually the 
space used by it became more and more crowded — although 
both the basement and some other portions of the building 
had been taken for various purposes — until at length the neces- 
sity for relief by the construction of an entirely new edifice 
became imperative. 

The decision was therefore taken, that the erection of a new 
building upon the present site and such adjoining ground as 
might be secured by purchase was not only necessary, but 
perfectly feasible. Pursuant to this plan, after considerable 
negotiation, the National Safe Deposit Company bought, at 
an approximate cost of one million dollars, the two properties 
on Monroe street just west of the ground held under lease, on 
which stood the Montauk Block, a structure ten stories high, 
one of the earliest skyscrapers built in Chicago, and the build- 
ing of Bradner Smith & Co., a wholesale paper house; which 
included a frontage of one hundred and twenty-three feet, and 
with the one hundred and eight feet leased from the Board of 



Education, makes a total of two hundred and thirty-one feet 
frontage on Monroe street controlled by the bank. The 
frontage on Dearborn street is one hundred and ninety-one 
feet. Upon this entire property, including an area of forty-four 
thousand one hundred and twenty-one square feet, a building 
eighteen stories in height was erected, inclosing more than ten 
and one-half millions of cubic feet. The cost, estimated at 
five million dollars, was provided by an increase in the capital 
of the National Safe Deposit Company to the sum of two 
million five hundred thousand dollars, one half of which was 
retained by the bank and the other half was subscribed by the 
bank's shareholders, and by the issue of a similar amount of 
four per cent bonds. Though the expense exceeded this es- 
timate considerably, the company was able to successfully 
carry the burden, and later when justified by its earnings, 
capitalized the value by a stock dividend of forty per cent, 
amounting to $1,000,000. 

The building practically fronts on four sides, there being an 
alley on the north and a court on the west. There is also an 
interior court measuring sixty by ninety feet, thus providing 
ample light and ventilation. The construction is entirely fire- 
proof. The exterior walls are faced with granite and the court 
walls with white enameled brick. 

In general the design of the building is in the old Roman 
style. The first three floors, sixty feet in height, which are 
occupied by the bank and its affiliated institutions, are marked 
by a cornice supported on massive Doric pilasters, forty feet 
in height, inclosing the arched openings of the bank proper. 
The aggregate height of these three lower stories is equal to 
that of an ordinary five story building. The banking room is 



thus clearly indicated; and its appearance is imposing and in 
proportion to its magnitude. Above this point the exterior 
treatment consists of windows simply spaced to suit the offices 
of the typical floors. The interior finish is entirely of ma- 
hogany and white marble. 

The design is severely simple in keeping with the natural 
quality of granite, which material is used for the entire fronts 
of the building. Good and impressive proportions are relied 
upon for general effect and merely ornamental treatment is 
everywhere avoided. The purpose is to suggest the strength 
and dignity of this great financial institution. 

There are two main entrances to the bank and office build- 
ing. The principal one is from Dearborn street. Here the 
vestibule is sixty feet wide, eighty feet deep and entirely finished 
in marble, with the grand staircase of broad, easy steps ascend- 
ing twelve feet from the street level to the banking-room floor. 
On each side of the staircase five elevators connect with the 
upper floors of the building. 

The entrance from Monroe street has proved nearly as 
important. The vestibule here is twenty-four feet wide by 
fifty feet deep, with a broad staircase to the bank and seven 
elevators to the offices in the building. 

The main banking-room occupies the entire second floor, 
together with an additional floor immediately above, over- 
looking it through a central court. Architectually, these 
stories are treated as a unit. The main entrance by the grand 
staircase from Dearborn street is through an archway opening 
immediately into the central court, measuring sixty by eighty 
feet. It is surrounded by an arcade, and roofed over at a height 



of sixty-five feet with a crystal plateglass dome, thus being 
brilliantly lighted. From this court staircases and a private 
elevator connect with the First Trust and Savings Bank and 
safe deposit vaults. 

The National Safe Deposit Company occupies sixteen 
thousand one hundred and four square feet of space on the 
ground floor, with entrance through the vestibule on Dearborn 
street. The Safety Deposit Vault itself measures forty-two 
by fifty feet, comprising an area of two thousand one hundred 
square feet, and contains fourteen thousand boxes, provision 
being made for additions when required. Coupon-rooms, 
committee-rooms, and reception-rooms for men and women are 
provided. The office, vestibule, and all other appointments 
are thoroughly in keeping with the general tone of the building 
and finished in white marble and mahogany. 

During its erection business uninterruptedly continued in 
the old structure until the first portion of the new building on 
the west half of the Monroe street frontage was completed. 
The bank on December 5 and 6, 1903, removed into this 
finished section, opening for business on Monday, December 7. 
The old building at the corner of Dearborn and Monroe streets 
was then demolished and the remainder of the new edifice 
finally completed May 1, 1905. The foresight and wisdom of 
those considering the future needs of this great institution 
were never more fully demonstrated than in the housing of 
the many-sided business. With most impressive architecture 
has been combined practical utility so perfectly that today, 
more than a decade since the plans were drawn, men whom 
experience makes authoritative pronounce this banking room 
unsurpassed in all the world. 



SCARCELY had the steel and granite of the new build- 
ing marked the sky line of the city when there was 
conceived in the minds of those directing the affairs 
of the bank an idea pregnant with greater possibilities 
than any action taken since the organization of the association. 

This idea culminated on December 18, 1903, when the 
directors declared a special dividend of $12.50 per share, 
amounting to $1,000,000, to pay in the capital stock of the 
First Trust and Savings Bank, a corporation organized under 
the laws of the State of Illinois. Though the two banks are 
separate and distinct as corporations, yet by the close associa- 
tion it seems both logical and fitting that in these pages the 
progress of the one be chronicled with that of the other. 

During the months preceding an agreement had been con- 
summated by and between James B. Forgan, David R. Forgan, 
George D. Boulton, Howard H. Hitchcock and Richard J. 
Street, as trustees, parties of the first part, and Otto Young and 
all the other stockholders of the First National Bank of Chicago. 
This agreement, bearing date November 2, 1903, states in its 
preamble, that " It is deemed to be for the interest of the stock- 
holders of said The First National Bank of Chicago that a 
savings bank and trust company should be organized under the 
laws of the State of Illinois, which shall be continuously owned 
by the per tens who shall from time to time be the shareholders 
of record of the said national bank, or such other bank as may 
from time to time succeed to said national bank's good-will 
and business, in proportion to the respective holdings of record 



of the stock of said national bank (or its successors as aforesaid,) 
for the purpose, in part, of transacting for the patrons of said 
national bank certain branches of business usually or often 
transacted by banking institutions, but not clearly included 
within the corporate powers of said national bank; and to 
that end it is desirable to secure the consent in writing of all 
the shareholders of said national bank to the plan for the 
organization of said savings bank and trust company and the 
ownership of its stock and the management of its affairs." 

The document then provides for the consent of share- 
holders ; the name and capital of the corporation ; the holding 
of the stock by the president, three of the vice-presidents 
and the cashier of the national bank, as trustees; the manner 
of distribution of dividends ; the continuation or termination of 
the trust; the liability of those beneficially interested; the 
payment of the capital stock; that the beneficial interest shall 
be evidenced by endorsement on the certificates of the national 
bank; that the stock of the two banks shall be inalienable 
during the life of the trust ; and, finally ; that the directors of the 
savings bank shall be directors of the national bank. 

The unanimous concurrence of the comparatively numerous 
and widely separated shareholders of the First National Bank 
was deemed essential, but, eventually all difficulties were over- 
come and satisfactory and binding consent secured from all. 

Submitted to the Comptroller of the Currency and to the 
Auditor of the State, the plan received the sanction of both 
officials. The latter's license to do business is dated December 
24, 1903, and four days later the First Trust and Savings Bank 
opened for business on the ground floor at 115 Monroe street, 
in the completed section of the First National Bank Building. 



« ' •< < > 


The officers of the new institution were James B. Forgan, 
president; David R. Forgan, vice-president; Emile K. Boisot, 
vice-president and manager; David V. Webster, assistant sec- 
retary; and Robert D. Forgan, assistant treasurer, serving 
under a directorate and advisory committee, of which the board 
of directors of the First National Bank comprised the member- 
ship. Three principal divisions of the bank's business, the 
Bond department, the Savings department and the Trust 
department, were organized at the outset and have since con- 
tinued, each distinct in character but working together for 
the benefit of the bank and its patrons. 

Success, in a measure unprecedented in the annals of 
Chicago finance, came to the First Trust and Savings Bank 
from the beginning. In the first seven days after its doors 
were opened 1089 savings accounts had been started, all the 
deposits showing a total of $3,195,591. A statement issued 
under date of March 22, 1904, in response to the call of the 
Auditor of the State gives the following figures : 


Bonds on hand $3,290,756.29 

Loans and discounts 3,516,426.42 

Cash and due from banks 1,574,664.05 


Capital $1,000,000.00 

Undivided profits 68,286.55 

Savings deposits $2,033,720.42 

Other deposits 5,279,839.79 7,313,560.21 

On the twenty-ninth of the same month Louis Boisot was 



appointed Trust officer, the staff otherwise continuing without 
change to December 27th, when D. V. Webster and R. D. 
Forgan were promoted, respectively to be secretary and 
treasurer. B 

By the close of the year the savings depositors numbered 
in excess of ten thousand, while deposits had reached a total of 
$17,931,056. This volume of business, far even in excess of 
expectations, made increased space desirable, almost essential, 
and the adjoining frontage on Monroe street was secured, 
giving a banking-floor then thought to be adequate for some 
years to come. 

This outline of the origin and early progress of the First 
Trust and Savings Bank though brief, has covered a time of 
some import in the parent institution, and in reverting to the 
latter, this introduction will permit the concurrent considera- 
tion of the affairs of both. 

A number of changes in the official staff had marked the 
period of transition from the old to the new building. On 
December 29, 1903, John E. Gardin resigned as manager of the 
Foreign Exchange department, Max May being appointed 
his successor, with Fred I. Kent as assistant manager. Mr. 
May held the post only until the following autumn, upon his 
resignation Mr. Kent assumed the duties of the office. Frank 
O. Wetmore, the bank's auditor since the creation of that 
position, was appointed, on June 28, 1904, assistant cashier, 
succeeding Edward Dickinson, resigned. M. D. Witkowsky 
was made auditor. 

The loss of George T. Smith to the board is recorded in the 
minutes of meeting of November 29, 1904, as one "whose 



death had deprived the bank of an able and conscientious 
director who had devoted his most efficient service to its 

At this latter meeting the tendency of the bank to create 
rather than follow precedent was again exemplified by the 
board's adoption of a plan, previously submitted by President 
Forgan for consideration. So incisive is the analysis of the 
defects then existing, so unique in banking the remedy in- 
volved, that this report, scientific in its deductions, compre- 
hensive in its scope, is here given in detail: 

"The proper organization of the work of the official staff 
of the bank is a subject that has been frequently discussed 
with me by individual members of this Board. 

"The absorption of the Union National Bank (in 1900) 
and of the Metropolitan National Bank (in 1902), together 
with the rapid growth of the Bank's own business, has inter- 
fered with the proper development and effective organization 
of the work of the officers. Our chief aim has been to hold the 
business acquired through these consolidations and the efforts 
of the officers who came to us from these banks have been more 
especially directed to this end. In this we have been quite 
successful, more so than we thought possible when the consol- 
idations were under contemplation. The Bank's business had 
really outgrown the facilities of its office in the old building 
prior to the consolidation with the Metropolitan National 
Bank, and after that event were wholly inadequate. All this 
has kept us in more or less confusion, preventing a proper and 
effective organization of the work. Our efforts have been to 
diffuse and have lacked concentration and grasp. This has 
led to losses that might have been avoided had the watchful 



care and thought of the individual members of the staff been 
more directly concentrated on and restricted to such a portion 
of the business as each could reasonably be expected to master. 

" In other words, our work has been generalized rather than 
specialized. Our efforts have not been properly nor econom- 
ically directed to accomplish the best results from the large 
volume of business we do and responsibility has been so divided 
that it has been impossible to fasten mistakes on anyone in 
particular. Besides this, there has not been sufficient op- 
portunity for the development and training of young men to 
fill the places of the senior officers, when in the ordinary course 
of events their services will be lost to the Bank. All this has 
been known to me as it has to most of you for some time. Not 
until now, however, when the facilities of our new office, 
rapidly approaching completion, afford the opportunity, have 
I seen my way to so re-organize the work of the officers under 
me as to get more effective and more satisfactory results from 
their services. 

" I now propose to specialize and divide the work by assign- 
ing to individual officers the care and management of the ac- 
counts of customers in specific lines of business. A senior 
and junior officer will work together in the management of all 
of the accounts in a particular line of business. It may be 
that they will be required to take charge of more than one line, 
but they will only be held responsible for the accounts in their 
particular line or lines of business assigned to them, and will 
be relieved of responsibility for the accounts in other lines, as- 
signed to other officers. 

"Each senior officer will be responsible for the credits 
granted in his division. A junior officer will be in constant 



touch with him and will attend to the details of the accounts 
under his direction. Both will be expected to use their best 
endeavor to work up new business in the special lines assigned 
to them, and will annually prepare a report to the executive 
committee embracing a statement of the condition of each 
account, with a report as to whether it is satisfactory or other- 
wise; also showing how the business of the bank has developed 
during the year in the special lines of business under their 
charge. In this way responsibility will be definitely fixed and 
the management can be judged by results. 

"I will personally keep in touch with the business, consulting 
with the senior officers, criticising the accounts under their 
charge and maintaining a careful supervision over them just 
as I have done in the past. This re-organization of the work 
should enable me to do my part more efficiently than has here- 
tofore been possible. The reports will be arranged so that two 
or three lines of business will be reported on each calendar 

The official organization became effective January I, 1905, 
with six divisions, twenty-six sub-divisions, seven departments, 
and officers, under James B. Forgan, president, as follows: 

Division A — David R. Forgan, vice-president; E. S. 
Thomas, assistant manager — collateral stocks and bonds; 
grain, flour and feed; meat products, live stock commission; 
coal; doctors and lawyers. 

Division B — George D. Boulton, vice-president ; Frank E. 
Brown, assistant manager — dry goods, millinery; woolens, 
clothing, cloaks; furnishing goods, hats and caps; jewelry and 
merchanishing sundries; transportation; and ladies' accounts. 



Division C — Howard H. Hitchcock, vice-president ; Charles 
N. Gillett, assistant manager — agricultural implements, bug- 
gies, automobiles and other vehicles; iron and steel products; 
lumber, furniture, etc.; manufacturing sundries. 

Division D — Richard J. Street, manager; Frank O. Wet- 
more, cashier — stone, brick, cement, contractors; wallpaper, 
paints, oils, glass, etc. ; boots, shoes, leather, hides and wool ; 
real estate and insurance; publishing, printing, engraving and 
paper ; miscellaneous. 

Division E — Holmes Hoge, manager; Charles H. Newhall, 
assistant manager — wholesale and retail liquors, brewers and 
brewers' supplies; tobacco; produce commission and cold 
storage; groceries, drugs, restaurants; bakers and hotels. 

Division F — August Blum, manager; Herbert W. Brough, 
assistant manager — banks and bankers. 

Law department — Orville Peckham, attorney; James D. 
Woley, assistant attorney; Bond department — Emile K. 
Boisot, manager; Foreign Exchange department — Fred I. 
Kent, manager; John J. Arnold, assistant manager; Auditing 
department — M. D. Witkowsky, auditor; Discount and Col- 
lateral department — E. J. Blossom, manager; Credit and 
Statistical department — H. A. Howland, manager; Clerical 
and Bookkeeping departments — William H. Monroe, assistant 

Notable even at this time of radical change is the appoint- 
ment of Frank O. Wetmore as cashier and that of William 
H. Monroe as the only assistant cashier. 

At the annual meeting of this year (1905) two new members, 



A. A. Carpenter, Jr., and Harold F. McCormick, were elected 
to the board, Mr. Nickerson withdrawing from its council. 

In May the board was again subjected to loss through the 
death of Elbridge G. Keith, president of the Metropolitan 
National Bank during the entire eighteen years of its existence, 
and since 1902 a director of this bank. From an appreciation 
upon the minutes is quoted: 

"We desire to record our appreciation of his noble char- 
acter and useful life and our deep sense of loss in his death. Mr. 
Keith was an example of the highest type of American citizen- 
ship. While conservative and successful as a banker, he was 
ever an energetic leader in any cause which had for its object 
the upbuilding of our city, the purification of our politics or 
the helping of the poor and needy. He commanded the af- 
fection as well as the respect of all who were associated with 
him and will long be remembered as one of the best citizens 
Chicago ever had." 

To fill the vacancy on the board Howard H. Hitchcock was 
elected. On December 26, George D. Boulton, who had served 
the bank in various capacities for forty years, resigned as vice- 
president and director. To this service and to the man was 
tendered, by the board, an expression of thanks and apprecia- 
tion with cordial wishes for health and happiness. On this 
same day were tendered the resignations of James H. Hyde as 
director and Frank E. Brown as assistant division manager. 

Assembled on January 9, 1906, the shareholders elected 
Emile K. Boisot and E. T. Jeffery to fill the vacancies on the 
board, the personnel otherwise remaining as before. The 
resignations just noted made essential a rearrangement of the 



staff. Frank O. Wetmore, cashier, was placed in charge of 
Division B, with M. D. Witkowsky as assistant manager, the 
latter being succeeded as auditor by Arthur W. Newton; 
Henry A. Howland became assistant manager of Division C, 
E. A. Erickson assuming the duties of manager in the Credit 
and Statistical department. In the First Trust and Savings 
Bank on the same date Burt C. Hardenbrook was appointed 
manager of the Bond department and on March 31, 1906, 
after this bank took charge of the First National Bank building, 
as agent for the National Safe Deposit Company, Robert 
L. Davis was appointed manager of the real estate department. 

The year was remarkable in the annals of Chicago finance 
as that in which the banking institutions of the city assumed 
the obligations of two insolvent banks and a trust company 
which had been dominated and wrecked by their president. 
So abhorrent were the conditions found, and so unable public 
officials under existing law to cope with possible recurrences 
of the situation, that there was appointed by the Chicago 
Clearing House Association an examiner whose duty included 
the examination of members of the association and all other 
banks which clear through members. The innovation, an 
unqualified success, has been an important factor in maintain- 
ing the credit of Chicago's banks upon the highest plane. 

From the standpoint of earnings as well as in volume of 
deposits the year 1906 was most satisfactory. The former, 
due largely to the high rates of interest prevailing during the 
year, exceeded $1,400,000, enabling the directors to transfer 
$1,000,000 from profit and loss account to the surplus fund. 
For the first time in the records of the association the deposits 
averaged in excess of one hundred million dollars. At the 


> t > 3 > > » 

J , ■ > . 1 , , 

> > <t .> » J 

* » > t 



close of the year the management reported, with great satis- 
faction, that the organization of the bank's business into 
divisions, inaugurated two years previously, had justified every 
expectation entertained at the time of its inception. Under 
the new system the business of the bank had been handled 
with greater efficiency and with more satisfactory results, both 
to the bank and to its clients, than could have been accom- 
plished under the methods formerly in vogue. The period had 
been a triumphant vindication of a plan of bank-management 
in which this bank was the pioneer. 

The First Trust and Savings Bank had kept up its phe- 
nomenal growth and very satisfactory earning capacity. The 
capital account was doubled by the transfer of one million 
dollars from the surplus, leaving one-half million dollars in 
the latter account, thus placing the bank on a broader capital 
basis, in keeping with its increased business. 

But with this material success came losses, not measurable 
by money value, but none the less severe. Otto Young, since 
1900 a member of the board, was removed by death on No- 
vember 30, 1906. On December 24, 1906, David R. Forgan 
resigned as director and vice-president, having occupied both 
offices since the absorption of the Union National Bank, also 
severing all connections with the First Trust and Savings Bank. 
Holmes Hoge, manager of Division E, also resigned upon the 
same date. To fill the vacancies on the board were elected 
James J. Hill and Benjamin Allen. 

At the opening of 1907 changes again take place in the 
official staff : Howard H. Hitchcock as senior vice-president is in 
charge of Division A; F. O. Wetmore and August Blum are made 



vice-presidents; Charles N. Gillett being appointed cashier. 
Charles H. Newhall becomes manager of Division E with John 
P. Oleson as assistant manager. A. W. Newton takes up duties 
in Division D as assistant manager, being succeeded as Auditor 
by H. L. Droegemueller, and W. J. Lawlor is made assistant 
manager in the Credit and Statistical department. The entire 
board, without change, continued until the death of Nelson 
Morris on August 27, 1907, terminating a service which had been 
uninterruptedly given to the bank for over thirty-five years. 
To the institution he was ever a tower of strength, a wise and 
conservative counselor; to its management he was, in truth, 
an inspiration for all that leads to honorable ends. At the 
September meeting of the board Edward Morris was elected 
to fill the vacancy. 

The brief, but violent, panic of 1907 cannot, for these pages, 
be better described than by quotation from President Forgan's 
address at the bank's annual dinner: 

"We have finished another year's voyage on the great 
sea of time and our good old ship, the First National, with its 
sister ships, the First Trust and the National Safe Deposit 
Company, have come into port undamaged by the stress of the 
storm they experienced towards the end of the voyage. It is 
a great satisfaction to us, the officers of these good ships, that 
we have not only taken care of our own craft but have been able 
to afford assistance by throwing out a life-line here and there 
not only to other financial craft of our own description, but to 
many ships of commerce caught in the same storm. 

"At the beginning the weather was fair, the sailing smooth 
and the prospects bright for one of the best and most profitable 



annual voyages in our history. We had not gotten more than 
half way, however, when clouds appeared on the horizon which 
grew darker and darker until they broke in one of the fiercest 
financial storms within the memory of man. We were com- 
pelled to adopt means for safety and self -protection to which 
we were unaccustomed, never before having had to resort to 
them. Under the administration of a hard-working and de- 
voted Clearing House Committee these means have been so 
administered in Chicago that they have brought the whole of 
the Chicago financial fleet through the storm without the loss 
of a single ship and with but few wrecks among the vessels of 
commerce. We were not, of course, able to bring our cargo 
entire into port. A considerable part of our Walsh consign- 
ment, or assignment, had to be thrown overboard in the mid- 
ocean of contingency and some other commercial consign- 
ments that went bad on the voyage had to be unloaded into 
the lifeboat of Debit Contingent, from which, however, we 
look for considerable salvage. 

"After this trying experience and the buffeting we have 
gone through, what remains of the cargo is in good condition 
and the net result of the voyage is highly satisfactory to our 
own immediate craft and their owners. As we show up in our 
annual statements no one could think that we had weathered 
a tornado or breasted a heavy sea. We came into port with 
colors flying, not a leak sprung, not a sail rent, not a spar 
broken. Undaunted by our strenuous experience and not un- 
duly elated with our success, but with renewed confidence in 
our ships and in their organization and with the brightest 
hopes, we have started out on the voyage of 1908 with full 
assurance that our past records will be fully maintained what- 
ever conditions may be." 



The year closed with the transfer of one million dollars 
from profit and loss account to the surplus fund, concrete 
evidence that the effects of the panic were not serious. 

When the first call of the succeeding year was made by the 
Comptroller of the Currency the effects of the stringency so far 
as deposits were concerned had passed. At the close of busi- 
ness February 14, 1908, the First National Bank reported: 


Loans and discounts $65,640,599.91 

United States bonds (par value) 4,491,000.00 

Bonds to secure U. S. deposits other than U. S. bonds. 1,696,000.00 

Other bonds and securities (market value) 7,257,436.01 

National Safe Deposit Co. stock (bank building) . . . 1,250,100.00 
Cash resources: 
Due from banks (Eastern exch.) . . . $20,123,676.92 

Checks for clearing house 3,547,008.43 

Cash on hand 21,219,220.28 

Due from U. S. Treasurer 534,100.00 45,424,005.63 


Capital stock paid in $ 8,000,000.00 

Surplus fund 7,000,000.00 

Other undivided profits 744,658.24 

Discount collected but not earned 436,290.80 

Special deposit of United States bonds 2,827,000.00 

Special deposit of other bonds 1,346,000.00 

Circulating notes received $3,221,997.50 

Less amount on hand 0.00 3,221,997.50 

Dividends declared but unpaid 2,876.00 

Reserved for taxes 16,000.00 

Deposits 102,164,319.01 



The figures of the First Trust and Savings Bank on the 
same date were: 


Bonds $10,847,145.35 

Time loans on collateral 8,643,697.69 

Demand loans on collateral $4,690,028.74 

Cash and due from banks 9,823,808.45 14,513,837.19 


Capital $ 2,000,000.00 

Surplus and undivided profits 1,476,576.32 

Time deposits $23,236,386.15 

Demand deposits 7,291,717.76 30,528,103.91 


On January 14, 1908, Frank O. Wetmore was relieved of 
special duties as manager of Division B, in order that his 
services might be devoted to assisting the President in the 
supervision of all the credits of the bank. William J. Lawlor 
was appointed at the same meeting manager of the Credit and 
Statistical department, the staff otherwise remaining unchanged 
until toward the close of the year, when, on December 24, Fred 
I. Kent resigned and on the same day Richard J. Street, by 
resignation, terminated an active service which had continued 
more than forty years with credit to himself and profit to the 

Promotions again marked the official staff at the opening 
of 1909. M. D. Witkowsky and A. W. Newton were appointed 
managers of their respective divisions; H. H. Heins and A. 
C. C. Timm were made assistant managers; John J. Arnold, 
acting manager, and Charles P. Clifford, assistant manager, 



took charge of the Foreign Exchange department, and John 
F. Hagey became assistant attorney. In the First Trust and 
Savings Bank, Frank M. Gordon was appointed assistant 
manager of the bond department. 

As the result of the business of 1909 the directors after pay- 
ing the usual dividends, again transferred one million dollars 
to surplus account, making the surplus equal to the capital. 
The First Trust and Savings Bank, having accumulated capital 
demanded by the growth of business, was placed upon a divi- 
dend basis and quarterly disbursements of four per cent upon 
its capital were made, thus placing shareholders of the national 
bank in receipt of dividends equivalent to sixteen per cent upon 
its stock. 

Since 1902 the capital had remained unchanged, but, in 
keeping with both growth and demand, an increase was deemed, 
by the directors, to be advisable. In accordance with this view 
a proposition to issue twenty thousand new shares to stock- 
holders of record at two hundred dollars per share was sub- 
mitted to the latter body, which voted at the annual meeting 
on January 11, 19 10, that the stock of the bank be in- 
creased to $10,000,000, the action to become effective April 
first. On this date the surplus was augmented by $2,000,000 
making it equal to the capital, and the capital stock of the 
First Trust and Savings Bank was increased to $2,500,000. 
The articles of association were also amended to provide for 
increase of the board of directors to twenty-five, and Bernard 
E. Sunny, Clarence M. Woolley and Frank O. Wetmore were 
elected to membership. The only changes made in the official 
staff at this time were the appointments of John F. Hagey, 
formerly assistant attorney, to assistant manager of Division 



F, in place of Herbert W. Brough, who had died suddenly in 
the preceding December, and the promotion of John J. 
Arnold from acting manager in the Foreign Exchange depart- 
ment to manager. Roy C. Osgood was appointed assistant 
trust officer in the First Trust and Savings Bank. 

Demonstrated success had proved the divisional form of 
official organization thoroughly satisfactory, with the single 
exception that the titles, manager and assistant manager, un- 
usual as applied to bank officers, did not indicate either position 
or rank to customers or the public. In making the system 
permanent the board, on June 28, 1910, appointed Emile K. 
Boisot, Charles N. Gillett (who continued as cashier), Charles 
H. Newhall, M. D. Witkowsky and Arthur W. Newton vice- 
presidents, and Edward S. Thomas, Henry A. Howland, John 
P. Oleson, H. H. Heins, A. C. C. Timm and John F. Hagey 
assistant cashiers of the bank. Their duties remained as before, 
but the technical change undoubtedly added considerable 
prestige to the positions. 

Before the year closed the board was subjected to heavy 
loss in the death of John H. Barker, a man of unusual achieve- 
ment in the business world and a source of strength in the 
councils of the bank. On January 10, 191 1, Charles H. Morse 
was elected to succeed Mr. Barker, the board otherwise re- 
maining unchanged. New appointments made C. M. Wal- 
worth manager of the Discount and Collateral department, 
succeeding Edward J. Blossom, retired; and Edward E. 
Brown assistant attorney, a position for some time held, but 
without official title. 

If from sentiment alone, considerable importance attaches 



to the action of the Comptroller of the Currency on May 24, 
191 1, in restoring the original designation, "The First National 
Bank of Chicago, Number 8," thus officially recognizing the 
continuing existence of the bank. 

By the close of 1910, more than sixty thousand savings ac- 
counts were upon the books of the First Trust and Savings 
Bank, which, with a larger volume of business in other de- 
partments, made imperative the demand for additional space. 
An area of slightly over three thousand square feet was available 
on the ground floor at the northeast corner of the building, 
which after necessary alterations was occupied in June of 191 1 
by the Trust department, the space vacated being taken for 
the Savings department. With this acquisition the bank has a 
total frontage of fifty-seven feet on Dearborn street and one 
hundred thirty-eight feet on Monroe street, and nearly twelve 
thousand square feet of floor area. Plans under contempla- 
tion, which include the occupancy of the southeast corner, will 
add some sixteen hundred square feet to the ground floor area, 
with additional working space and vaults in the basement. 

On the recommendation of the directors the shareholders 
of the First Trust and Savings Bank at a special meeting held 
on December 19, 191 1, voted to increase the capital stock of 
the First Trust and Savings Bank to $5,000,000 by transferring 
$2 , 500,000 from surplus account the last day of the year. Each 
shareholder had now a beneficial interest of half a share in the 
First Trust and Savings Bank stock for every share of First 
National Bank stock owned; the ratio remains unchanged. 

The board and official staff of the First National Bank are 
again subjected to change. Charles Deering, on December 26, 


> t ' , » 


First row (seated) left to right: Messrs. Gillett, Wetmore, Boisot, Forgan, 

Hitchcock, Blum. 
Second row: Messrs. Monroe, Howland, Arnold, Timm, Newton, Blos- 
som, Hagey, Heins. 
Third row: Messrs. Oleson, Droegemueller, Newhall, Witkowsky, 
Lawlor, Peckham, Thomas, Clifford. 


191 1, resigned, being succeeded by William J. Louderback. Two 
weeks later George F. Baker also withdrew from the board, 
and Marvin Hughitt was elected to the vacancy. The most 
important promotion of 19 12 was the appointment of Henry 
A. Howland to the cashiership, succeeding Charles N. Gillett, 
the latter continuing as vice-president in charge of Division 
C, to which was also appointed William J. Lawlor with the 
title of assistant cashier. The force in Division F, handling 
the accounts of banks and bankers, was augmented by the 
appointment of R. F. Newhall and George H. Dunscomb as 
assistant cashiers, both of whom had been active in the work 
of this division. Charles R. McKay, manager of the Transit 
and General Books department, was made an official, and J. 
W. Lynch was placed at the head of the Credit and Statistical 
department. The retirement of Orville Peckham, who for 
more than thirty years had been the legal advisor of the bank, 
was followed by the appointment of Edward E. Brown as 
attorney and John Nash Ott, assistant attorney. 

In accordance with a policy adopted by the directors there 
was no division during 19 12 of the profits of the First Trust 
and Savings Bank. In lieu thereof special dividends equal to 
five per cent for the year on the capital stock of the First 
National Bank were paid out of its earnings. The First Trust 
and Savings Bank was thus enabled to increase its surplus 
account from $1,000,000 to $2,500,000. Should the earnings 
of the First National Bank permit, this policy will be con- 
tinued until the surplus of the First Trust and Savings Bank is 
equal to its capital. 

In the latter bank, on January 14, 1913, Louis Boisot was 
appointed vice-president, retaining the title of trust officer; 



Burt C. Hardenbrook became the incumbent of the newly 
created position of cashier, Frank M. Gordon succeeding him 
as manager bond department ; C. G. Fleager was made assist- 
ant treasurer, and Arlan W. Converse assistant secretary. 

It is interesting to note in the absence of change in board 
and official staff of the First National Bank that Samuel W. 
Allerton, binding the present to the past, continues as a di- 
rector, in which capacity he has served the bank continuously 
since the first organization, and to whom was issued certificate 
number one in 1863. 

The first statement issued upon call of the Comptroller 
in 1913, the semi-centennial year of the First National Bank, 
shows at the close of business February 4: 


Loans and Discounts $85,586,825.73 

United States bonds (par value) 2,359,000.00 

Other bonds and securities (market value) 6,071,245.81 

National Safe Deposit Co. stock (bank building) . . . 1,250,000.00 
Cash resources: 

Due from U. S. Treasurer $ 925,450.00 

Cash and due from banks 50,896,519.84 51,821,969.84 



Capital stock paid in $10,000,000.00 

Surplus fund 10,000,000.00 

Other undivided profits 1,897,477.08 

Discount collected but not earned 637,822.80 

Special deposit of United States bonds 1,700,000.00 



Circulating notes received $2,109,000.00 

Less amount on hand 0.00 $ 2,109,000,00 

Dividends declared but unpaid 1^965.75 

Reserved for taxes 53,136.2 1 

Deposits 120,689,639.54 


The First Trust and Savings Bank, reported at the same 


Bonds $20,840,553.91 

Time loans on collateral 18,643,773.64 

Demand loans on collateral $12,291,620.94 

Cash and due from banks 10,923, 713.65 23,215,334.59 


Capital $ 5,000,000.00 

Surplus and undivided profits 2,644,849.20 

Reserve for interest and taxes 96,641.65 

Time deposits $43,592,382.31 

Demand deposits 11,365,788.98 54,958,171.29 


Half a century has elapsed since the passage of the National 
Bank Act, and the organization of the First National Bank of 
Chicago under its provisions. Some conception of the steady 
progress which the bank itself has made during this period — 
until now it has a balance sheet exceeding $145,000,000 — will 
be formed, still it may not be realized, without reflection, what 
a force it has been in the advancement of the city and the 
enormous territory commercially tributary thereto. While it 
has certainly profited by the phenomenal growth of the com- 



munity, it has on the other hand contributed in no small 
measure to the extension of the trade and the development of 
the material interests of those whom it serves. 

The past progress and present position of Chicago are in a 
great measure attributable to the sound condition of its prin- 
cipal representatives in the world of finance. Among these in- 
stitutions, the First National Bank and the First Trust and 
Savings Bank not only hold high rank by virtue of the volume 
of their business, but have also won universal recognition as 
safe and conservative, while they are at the same time not the 
less thoroughly equipped and fully cognizant of the needs and 
requirements of those who have made Chicago the great 
central market, and believe it a city of destiny. 

Without desire or intention to eulogize the First National 
Bank, or by induction the First Trust and Savings Bank, it is 
believed that some few words of satisfaction at its past career 
can be uttered. By reason of the excellent management which 
it has uninterruptedly enjoyed, the high financial policy which 
it has strenuously advocated, and the respect and esteem of the 
community which it has never sacrificed, this institution has 
attained a reputation well merited by its record. Appreciative 
of the consideration which it has received, and always anxious 
to conserve the best interests of those who in any way are con- 
nected with it, the First National Bank may still justly an- 
ticipate many long years of public service. If the experience 
of the past is a fair criterion upon which to hazard a prediction, 
a yet greater future is in store for the First National Bank of 




From 1863 to 19 13 

Aiken, Edmund - - - - 


Allen, Benjamin - - - - 


Allen, Benjamin F. - - - 


Allerton, Samuel W. - - - 


Baker, George F. - - - - 



Bartlett, Adolphus C. - - 


Boisot, Emile K. - - - - 


Boulton, George D. - - - 


Bronson, Tracy J. - - - - 


Brown, William L. - - - 


Carpenter, A. A. - - - - 

1 883-1 900 

Carpenter A. A. Jr. - - - 


Conover, Charles H. - - - 


Crosby, Isaac - - - - - 


Crumbaugh, Frederick - - 


Cummings, D. Mark - - 


Deering, Charles - - - - 


Fargo, James C. - - - - 


Forgan, David R. - - - - 

1 900-1 906 

Forgan, James B. - - - - 



Gray, Franklin D. - - - - 

1 866-1899 



Hall, Elbridge G. - - - - 1863-1870 

Hill, James J. 1906- 

Hitchcock, H. H. - - - - 1905- 

Howard, Samuel G. D. - - 1863-1866 

Hughitt, Marvin - - - - 19 12- 

Hutchinson, Benj. P. - - - 1 863-1 867 

Hyde, James H. - - - - 1903-1905 

Jeffery, E. T. 1906- 

Keith, Elbridge G. - - - 1 902-1 905 

Lawrence, E. F., 1870-1876, 1877-1898 
Lewis, Henry B. - - - - 1867-1869 
Louderback, Wm. J. - - - 19 11- 

McCormick, H. F. - - - 


Morris, Edward - - - - 


Morris, Nelson - - - - 


Morse, Charles H. - - - 

- 1911- 

Nickerson, Roland C. - - 

- 1892-1900 

Nickerson, Samuel M. - - 


Peckham, Orville, 1 888-1 890, 1 891-1892 
Pike, Eugene S. - - - - 1885- 
Porter, Henry H. - - - - 1868-1891 
Porter, Henry H. Jr. - - - 1903- 

Ream, Norman B. - - - - 1890- 
Rice, Byron 1863-1868 

Sherman, John B. - - - - 1863-1867 

Singer, Horace M. - - - - 1879-1888 

Smith, George T. - - - - 1 899-1 904 

Spoor, John A. - - - - - 1900- 



bunny, Bernard h>. - - - 


Symonds, Henry R. - - - 


Talcott, Mancel - - - - 


Thompson, Daniel - - - 


Walker, George C. - - - 


Watson, William J. - - - 


Webster, George - - - - 


Wetmore, Frank 0. - - - 


Wilmarth, Henry M. - - ■ 

■ 1874-1885 

Woolley, Clarence M. - - 

- 1910- 







From 1863 to 19 13 


Edmund Aiken - - - - 


Samuel M. Nickerson - - 


Lyman J. Gage - - - - 


Samuel M. Nickerson - - 


James B. Forgan - - - - 



James C. Fargo - - - - 


Samuel M. Nickerson - - 


Franklin D. Gray - - - - 


Lyman J. Gage - - - - 


Henry R. Symonds - - - 


James B. Forgan - - - - 


David R. Forgan - - - - 

1 9 00- 1 906 

Geo. D. Boulton - - - - 

1 900- 1 905 

H. H. Hitchcock - - - - 


Frank 0. Wetmore - - - 


August Blum ----- 


E. K. Boisot 


Charles N. Gillett - - - 


Charles H. Newhall - - - 


M. D. Witkowsky - - - 


Arthur W. Newton - - - 


Second Vice-Presidents 
Henry M. Kingman - - - 1891. 
James B. Forgan - - - - 1892. 
George D. Boulton - - 189 7 -1900 




Edward E. Braisted - - - 1 863-1 866 

Cornelius R. Field - - - 1 866-1 868 

Lyman J. Gage - - - - 1868-1882 

Henry R. Symonds - - - 1882-1891 

Richard J. Street - - - - 1 891-1905 

Frank O. Wetmore - - - 1905-1907 

Charles N. Gillett - - - 1907-1912 

Henry A. Howland - - - 19 12- 

Assistant Cashiers 

A. A. Wheeler 1864-1865 

Charles J. Schmitt - - - 1 866-1 868 

Henry R. Symonds - - - 1869-1882 

Henry M. Kingman - - - 1882-1891 

Holmes Hoge ----- 1891-1905 

August Blum ----- 1900-1905 

Frank E. Brown - - - - 1 900-1 905 

Charles N. Gillett - - - 1900-1905 

Edward Dickinson - - - 1902-1904 

Frank O. Wetmore - - - 1904-1905 

William H. Monroe - - - 1905- 

Edward S. Thomas - - - 1910- 

Henry A. Howland - - - 1910-1912 

John P. Oleson - - - - 19 10- 

H. H. Heins ----- 1910- 

A. C. C. Timm - - - - 1910- 

John F. Hagey - - - - 1910- 

William J. Lawlor - - - 19 12- 

R. F. Newhall - - - - 19 12- 

George H. Dunscomb « - 19 12- 

Second Assistant Cashiers 

Richard J. Street - - - - 1882-1891 

Frank E. Brown - - - - 1897-1900 




Frank 0. Wetmore - - - 


M. D. Witkowsky - - - 

1 904- 1 906 

A. W. Newton - - - - 

- 1 906-1 907 

H. L. Droegemueller - - 

- 1907- 



Richard J. Street - - - - 1 905-1 908 

Holmes Hoge 1905-1906 

August Blum 1 905-1 907 

Charles H. Newhall - - - 1907-1910 

M. D. Witkowsky - - - 1909-19 10 

A. W. Newton 1909-1910 

Assistant Managers 

E. S. Thomas 1905-19 10 

Frank E. Brown - - - - 1905. 

Charles N. Gillett - - - 1905-1907 

Charles H. Newhall - - - 1905-1907 

Herbert W. Brough - - - 1905-19 10 

M. D. Witkowsky - - - 1906-1909 

Henry A. Howland - - - 1906-19 10 

John P. Oleson - - - - 1907-1910 

A. W. Newton - - - - 1907-1909 

H. H. Heins 1909-1910 

A. C. C. Timm - - - - 1909-1910 

John F. Hagey - - - - 1910. 





Geo. D. Boulton - - - - 1 891-1897 

Emile K. Boisot - - - - 1897-1910 

John E. Gardin - - - - 1901-1903 

Max May ------ 1903-1904 

Fred I. Kent ----- 1905-1908 

E. J. Blossom ----- 1905-1911 

H. A. Howland - - - - 1905-1906 

E. A. Erickson ----- 1906-1908 

William J. Lawlor - - - - 1908-19 12 

John J. Arnold ----- 1909- 

C. M. Walworth - - - - 191 1- 

Charles R. McKay - - - 19 12- 
J. W. Lynch 1912- 

Assistant Managers 

John E. Gardin - - - - 1897-1901 

Max May ------ 1901-1903 

Fred I. Kent ----- 1903-1905 

John J. Arnold ----- 1 905-1 909 

W. J. Lawlor ----- 1907-1908 

Charles P. Clifford - - - 1909- 

Orville Peckham - - - - 1879-1912 
Edward E. Brown - - - 19 12- 

Assistant Attorneys 

James D. Woley - - - - 1 900-1 908 
John F. Hagey ----- 1909-1910 
Edward E. Brown - - - 1911-1912 
John Nash Ott 1912- 






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